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Panhandle National Forests planning new headquarters in Coeur d’Alene

Tue., April 8, 2014

The Idaho Panhandle National Forests is planning a new headquarters in Coeur d’Alene.

Construction of the two-story building will begin in 2018, and it will also house two other agencies. It will be located on an undeveloped part of the 220-acre U.S. Forest Service nursery adjacent to Kathleen Avenue. Neighbors can learn more about the project at a public meeting from 5-7 p.m. Monday at the current headquarters, 3815 Schrieber Way, Coeur d’Alene.

The building site has a mature stand of trees, and the Forest Service plans to keep as many of the trees as possible, said Jason Kirchner, an agency spokesman.

“We’re not going to clear-cut that chunk of trees,” he said. “Maintaining the trees makes it a nice place to work.”

The new building will house about 124 employees of the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Forest Service and BLM lease their current 42,600-square-foot building but wanted something smaller, Kirchner said. By constructing their own building, the three agencies expect to save about $9.5 million over 30 years, compared to the cost of continuing the current lease.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will transfer some of its employees from its Spokane Valley office to Coeur d’Alene.

Federal regulations require a green-built, energy-efficient structure, which should cut down on future energy and upkeep costs, Kirchner said.

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