Stimulus to fund face-lift at Bangor federal building

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff
Posted April 01, 2009, at 9:18 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Members of Maine’s congressional delegation released additional information Wednesday concerning nearly $100 million in economic stimulus funding awarded the state to upgrade and build federal buildings.

More than half of the total headed for Maine, or slightly more than $52.82 million, will go toward energy efficiency and other improvements at the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building in Bangor.

“The GSA’s decision to award economic stimulus funding to repair and renovate the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building will help create and save jobs in the Bangor area,” Sen. Susan Collins said Wednesday. “This means more money in the pockets of working people and local stores and businesses.

“In addition to security improvements, this funding will also be used to help bring the aging building up to modern environmental standards, thus lowering energy costs to taxpayers in the future and extending the life of this important public building,” she said.

The funding, totaling about $99.8 million, was initially announced Tuesday. The funding is part of the $5.55 billion allocated to the U.S. General Services Administration through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Though few details were available Wednesday, staffers for members of Maine’s congressional delegation said that the work in Bangor is expected to include:

ä Improvements to the building’s entrance and first floor public space.

ä Major renovations to federal courtrooms and related facilities.

ä Electrical and plumbing upgrades and the replacement of the existing heating and cooling system with a new one that is more energy-efficient.

ä New elevators.

ä Exterior improvements, including work to the building’s façade and security-related enhancements.

Maine also will get $39,727,000 to construct a new border crossing station at Van Buren.

The new facility will replace an old structure that was built in 1964 on a landfill. That facility was knocked out of commission by St. John River floodwaters last spring and employees have since been working out of a temporary facility.

Other federal facilities in Maine that are receiving stimulus funds are:

ä The Calais port of entry, which will get $6.3 million to cover cost increases related to the new $48 million border crossing station now under construction.

ä The port of entry in Madawaska, $750,000.

ä Edward T. Gignoux Courthouse in Portland, $193,000.

Details about the Madawaska and Portland projects were not available Wednesday.

According to the GSA, the agency selected the projects on two overarching criteria: the ability of the project to put people back to work quickly and to transform federal buildings into high-performance green buildings.

The GSA’s Public Buildings Service is responsible for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of thousands of federal facilities housing more than a million government employees around the country.

Nationwide, the Recovery Act directs $750 million to renovate and construct federal buildings and courthouses, $300 million to upgrade and construct ports of entry and $4.5 billion to convert federal buildings to high-performance green buildings. Individual projects range from new construction and full and partial building modernization projects to limited scope and small projects, according to the GSA’s spending plan.

U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud called the stimulus funding “tremendous news for our state.

“This funding comes at an extremely important time,” he said. “Many people are out of work and the direct and indirect jobs and economic activity created by these projects will create positive ripple effects for the surrounding communities.”

A senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Olympia Snowe said job creation is key to economic growth.

“This funding will provide critical opportunities for Mainers across the state to find gainful employment while improving the state of our public buildings,” she said. “These projects truly fulfill the intended goal of the stimulus package by putting Americans to work and develop our communities.”

Paula Santangelo, a GSA spokeswoman headquartered in Boston, said Wednesday that more detailed information about the projects will be made available online at www.gsa.gov/recovery and at www.recovery.gov within the next few days.

dgagnon@bangordailynews.net

990-8189

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/04/01/news/bangor/stimulus-to-fund-facelift-at-bangor-federal-building/ printed on July 23, 2014