New Rifle Ranger District digs brings out the smiles at open house
Citizen Telegram Editor
After about two decades of working out of cramped, stuffy quarters in a 1980s building, staffers in the Rifle Ranger District of the White River National Forest were all smiles on Monday, July 15.
That’s when they showed off their recently remodeled, enlarged and energy efficient building at 0094 County Road 244 in West Rifle during an open house.
The $1.3 million, nine-month project expanded the building from 3,200- to 5,900 square feet, and features solar panels on the roof and a geothermal heating and cooling system, said Jason Pooler, visitor information and services specialist for the Rifle Ranger District.
“They started work in September, and we vacated the old building in the first week of January and worked out of an old trailer until we moved back here in June,” he said.
The geothermal system circulates an anti-freeze liquid through pipelines buried in the ground, Pooler explained, transferring the more uniform year-round heat of the earth into the building.
“That helps us offset our heating and cooling costs,” he said.
Along with solar panels on the roof of the building, each bathroom includes instant hot water heaters, another cost savings feature, Pooler said.
Nearly every room has motion sensors to turn lights off when rooms are not in use, he added.
Exterior landscaping features a xeriscape design, with native plants and grasses, Pooler noted.
Pooler said the work included gutting the walls of the original building, installing new and improved insulation, energy-savings windows and Hardy board siding.
“We wanted to make it as sustainable as we could,” Adams added.
District Ranger Glenn Adams said it took about 10 years to go through the federal budget process to obtain the money for the project.
“Now, with everything so tight, we were fortunate we were able to get the money,” Adams said.
Some of the building’s interior furnishings include wooden tables and chairs made by volunteer Kurt Hill from Aspen trees logged from the Spring Creek Fire burn area, Adams said. The fire occurred in 2002 in the district.
Adams said the expanded space has allowed the 18- to 20-person full-time staff to welcome a few forest service staffers who live in Rifle but had been working out of the supervisor’s office building in Glenwood Springs.
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Carnival rides, best beard competitions, live music and so much more kick-off in Rifle this weekend.