National Park Service approves $11.28 million project to renovate Fort Vancouver

An $11.28 million project to rehabilitate historic buildings and utilities at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site will also result in moving the Gifford Pinchot National Forest headquarters to the Vancouver, Washington, site.

The National Park Service announced Tuesday it awarded the contract to Pacific Tech Construction, Inc., of Kelso.

This project is a major step toward making the Vancouver Barracks a public service campus that involves the public in multiple ways while preserving the nationally significant historic barracks structures, landscapes, archaeological features, collections and histories, according to a Park Service news release.

“Long term, this is a win-win for everyone: the public, the National Forest, this urban national park, our community and the entire region,” site superintendent Tracy Fortmann said in a statement.

“This is a great opportunity to provide a joint presence with the National Park Service as federal land managers connecting with our public and sharing our missions,” forest supervisor Janine Clayton said in a statement.

The forest supervisor’s headquarters is now about 7 miles northeast of the national historic site in an area with other offices, a park and residences.

The project, according to the release, will include:

• Rehabilitation of several buildings including Building 987, a 33,000-square-foot historic double barracks that will become the forest’s headquarters; Building 404, a modern 5,000-square-foot maintenance building; utility replacement; and exterior rehabilitation of two additional large double barracks, Buildings 989 and 993.

• Upgrades to improve energy performance through insulation, window enhancements, upgraded mechanical systems and reduced water consumption. Modern interior walls and other recent alterations will be removed to achieve a more open and light-filled environment and a greater sense of historical authenticity.

• Building improvements such as the installation of an elevator and fire suppression and the new floor plan allowing better access, egress and circulation for different user groups (including visitors, employees, delivery people and those with disabilities) while preserving historic integrity and U.S. Forest Service agency identity and legacy.

• Utility work in the initial phase that will focus on replacing and upgrading the infrastructure near the northern end of the barracks and include improvements to power, water, sewer and storm sewer systems. The construction of a new water main line will provide needed pressure and flow to meet fire suppression needs. The remaining two double barracks will have a restored protective envelope with new roofs and repairs to gutters, decks, and exterior walls and paint.

Pacific Techs has experience in doing historic restoration projects, including the renovation and refurbishing of the Cathlamet Public Library and the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse in Portland, as well as similar projects in national parks elsewhere in the United States.

The work is expected to begin later this spring and be completed in late 2016.