New Van Buren Border Crossing Supports Security and Commerce
Federal and local officials commemorate opening of Van Buren Land Port of Entry
September 25, 2013
BOSTON -- Today, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) were joined by U.S. Senators Susan Collins, Angus King and Congressman Michael Michaud in Washington, DC, to officially open the state-of-the-art land port of entry facility in Van Buren, Maine. GSA and CBP worked with national and local firms to design this new facility that uses modern technology to enhance border security, speed the flow of commerce, and save energy. Officials in Washington, DC joined the event via video teleconferencing technology and kicked off the ribbon cutting in Van Buren, Maine.
“Land ports of entry are important investments in the nation’s infrastructure that also support commerce and ensure safety,” said Dan Tangherlini, GSA Administrator. “The Van Buren Land Port of Entry restores and enhances an essential border crossing facility in this region and provides Customs and Border Protection the tools it needs to serve the American people.”
“Following the devastating floods in 2008, I toured the temporary facilities in Van Buren and recognized the need to modernize them to meet the challenges of securing the border while supporting a robust exchange of visitors between the U.S. and Canada,” said U.S. Senator Susan Collins. “I am pleased to join so many in celebrating this new state-of-the-art facility, which sets a standard that will benefit the people and businesses of this region for years to come. With this modern facility and the continued dedication of those who work here, our new front door will be both secure and welcoming.”
“The new Van Buren Port of Entry is an extraordinary facility that will not only enhance our nation’s border security, but also encourage and promote trade, commerce, and cross-border relationships,” U.S. Senator Angus King said. “I applaud the collaborative work of the General Services Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and all of the national and local firms involved throughout the design and construction process. Without question, this state-of-the-art, environmentally-friendly facility will greatly benefit Maine and the nation for years to come.”
Located on a 22-acre site on the northeastern border of Maine, the 44,000 square foot facility screens and welcomes travelers, workers, and commercial trucks to and from Canada. The new facility now provides the region with a full service commercial screening station, which will support commercial vehicle traffic. This facility marks the return of a fully functioning border crossing to the region after the previous facility was significantly damaged in a 2008 flood. CBP had been operating out of trailers since the flood. GSA began the $46 million construction project in 2011, which was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The project was completed on time and on budget this year. CBP now has a new facility that will support their vital mission to secure the nation’s borders. .
“President Obama has asked federal employees to help build the government of the 21st century,” remarked Robert Zarnetske, GSA New England Regional Administrator. “Successful projects like these not only satisfy a critical need in securing our borders but also help grow local economies. The government of the 21st century seizes the opportunity to help communities by connecting national objectives with local skills and opportunities.”
“While it seems like quite some time now since the floods compromised the port here, this facility was worth the wait. Simply updating or repairing it wouldn’t have given this area the safe and state-of-the-art port of entry it deserved. That’s why I pushed so hard to have this new facility built. I’m confident this new Van Buren Land Port of Entry will serve our community well for many years to come. Not only does it provide a safe working environment for all personnel, it’s also a green facility. And most importantly, it will help improve security while facilitating commerce and reducing congestion for people and goods travelling across our border,” said Rep. Mike Michaud.
The facility also uses sustainable technology and design features to cut energy and utility costs and save taxpayer dollars. The sustainability features of this facility include: energy-efficient construction using insulated pre-cast concrete panels; a ground-sourced geothermal heating and cooling system with nearly fifty 400’-deep geothermal wells; radiant floor heating; a solar hot water heating system which provides hot water to building sinks and showers; solar tubes which provide daylight to interior rooms; energy-efficient lighting (including LED); and a 1,250kW generator which provides backup power in case of power outages. These energy efficient features are expected help the facility achieve a LEED Gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.
“This project created contracting opportunities and jobs in this region. GSA’s private sector partners included the award winning Julie Snow Architects, Inc., J&J Contractors, Inc., and Robert Siegel Architects. In addition, there were 27 Maine based companies that helped complete this project.