Rio Grande National Forest to begin construction phase on new headquarters in Del Norte

Monte Vista, Colo., January 15, 2020 – The Rio Grande National Forest (RGNF) announced today that the remodeling of the former Del Norte High School building will move into the final phase of the construction process beginning the week of January 18. As a result, the driveway in front of the building and other site access points will be closed to all traffic for safety purposes.

We anticipate heavy construction traffic and debris in that driveway which will be ripped for eventual regrading and repaving. Motorists accustomed to using the route to access the school should immediately plan to utilize a different route.

Over the past few months, contractors removed materials that would be potentially hazardous during demolition and prepared the building for this final construction phase. The building will undergo extensive remodeling and construction to comply with federal sustainability requirements and to update the building to current federal office standards. The building size will be reduced from 35,000 to 14,400 square feet to comply with "Freeze the Government Footprint" requirements. This policy requires federal agencies to maintain or reduce their building footprint area.

Federal buildings are required to meet sustainability, energy and water efficiency standards. New buildings entering the federal building portfolio are mandated to improve energy efficiency over current building codes, reduce potable water use, recycle building and construction waste, and utilize environmentally preferred products.

"We are excited to begin this new phase of construction," said Forest Engineer, Meg Sullivan. "Each week will provide a new look to the building."

In October 2017, the Del Norte School District initially approached the RGNF with a unique opportunity to donate the high school and land to the Forest. Through tremendous effort by the School District and RGNF, this opportunity became reality in September 2020, when the title was transferred to the Forest Service.

The remodeled building will replace the current Supervisor’s Office located in Monte Vista. Building construction is expected to be completed by October 2022. Until the new office is opened, we will remain in business in our current Monte Vista location.

The RGNF is developing a new web page that will provide more information as we progress through the construction phase: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/riogrande/about-forest/offices/?cid=fseprd874220

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/riogrande/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD875830