ASHLAND, Maine — Employees of the state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife gathered at their newly expanded office building Friday afternoon to showcase the transformation of what was once a small house into a modern office facility that reflects the nature of the department’s work and the wildlife of the region.
Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Roland “Danny” Martin was on hand as the agency held an open house at its Ashland Regional Office on Station Hill. DIF&W employees, including game wardens and wildlife biologists, took guests and community members through the now 6,000-square-foot building that has more space for workers.
The office had been located in a 2,000-square-foot home where one employee had an office in the foyer. Approximately 15 to 20 workers were crammed into the facility without enough work, conference, storage or research space to meet their needs.
The $670,000 expansion project was approved by the Legislature and funded out of money the department had left over in its budget each year. That money was carried over into an account to finance the work, which remains not quite complete until more money can be secured.
“Everyone there has really been working on top of each other so this was a much needed expansion,” Deborah Turcotte, spokeswoman for the DIF&W, said Friday. “The department received some donations for the building and some of our regional employees did some of the work themselves, such as the painting and drywall work. We also received discounts from some of our contractors.”
The expanded facility features work that showcases the wildlife of the region and the equipment used by DIF&W crews. The items include a moose head for the front foyer donated by an area taxidermist and a donated 1906 Old Town canoe that hangs in the new conference room.
Martin said construction on the building expansion project began in 2007 and has made the former home a “state-of-the-art” facility.
“This was a lot of hard work on the part of many people and it is great to see it come to fruition,” he said Friday.