VAN BUREN – A ground breaking was held June 11 at the site of the new Land Port of Entry in Van Buren. The port, funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 with a cost of $45,127,000, will replace the existing port at 137 Bridge Street.
This new project, on a 20-acre site, will replace the older buildings damaged during the 2008 flood of the St. John River. Since that time, agencies manning the port have been working out of trailers and temporary facilities. “Today’s ground breaking marks the beginning of an immense undertaking made possible through a strong partnership between U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. General Services Administration. We have enjoyed continuous support from Senator Susan Collins, Senator Olympia Snowe and Congressman Michael Michaud," stated GSA Regional Administrator Bob Zarnetske.
Speakers at the ceremony included Zarnetske, Collins, Sharon Campbell, from the office of Snowe, Barbara Hayslett, from the office of Michaud, and Keith Fleming, Area Port Director, Customs and Border Protection.
“This state-of-the-art facility will provide accommodations for the appropriate mix of infrastructure, personnel and modern technology necessary for our officers to more efficiently and effectively secure our borders,” said Fleming. It is also anticipated that the new facilities will greatly improve the movement of larger commercial vehicles through the inspection area.
The LPOE was recognized for its concept design at GSA's Design Excellence Awards ceremony earlier this year. It has been registered with the U.S. Green Building Council and is on track for LEED Silver certification. Unique design and sustainable features include repeating joints positioned as to mirror surrounding trees; forest-camouflaged silkscreen covered glass that admits daylight while controlling glare; geothermal heating and cooling; biodiesel boilers; solar hot water; and LED light fixtures which will contribute to a projected 48 percent reduction in energy costs.
The project is scheduled to be completed by July 2013.