The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s new, 31,000 square-foot facility in Ridgefield is a far cry from from the run-down building the agency occupied in Vancouver until its closure at the beginning of July.
The facility is on Port of Ridgefield-owned land, just west of Interstate 5. The port was awarded the 10-year lease contract in June 2016, and WDFW reports that the $8 million project was completed under budget.
Around 100 employees will occupy the facility, which opened for business at the beginning of this week. It is headquarters for Southwest Washington, which covers six different counties — Klickitat, Skamania, Clark, Cowlitz, Lewis and Wahkiakum.
“We congratulate WDFW on achieving this milestone, and thank past and present management for choosing Ridgefield,” said Port CEO Brent Grening in a news release. “We also thank the Southwest Washington legislative delegation for their support of this important project.”
The facility, a concrete-tilt building, is plush and spacious. It holds small and large offices.
There are a couple public meeting rooms that can be used for various kinds of fishing and hunting related gatherings — one official mentioned line-tying for fly fishing classes as an example. There is also a fish lab and small library.
Connected to the building is a 10,000 square-foot warehouse with high ceilings. It already held four boats, only taking up a small portion of the floor space, when The Reflector toured the facility last week. Just outside is another open but covered 8,000 square-foot storage space.