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Game and Fish Department opens ‘green’ facility

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The new $9.5 million Game and Fish Department facility includes several structures, including the main administrative center with offices and meeting areas. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

Site will offer public classes

The $9.5 million New Mexico Department of Game and Fish administrative and educational center in Roswell has been designed and built as an environmentally advanced facility.

The staff of eight to 10 people completed its move last week into the facility at 1615 W. College Blvd. from the old offices on West Second Street, said Captain Andrew Gray, head of the southeast region.

“We are pretty much moved in,” he said. “We had to move about 30 years of work and materials over here from our other site.”

Largely completed about three weeks ago, the new facility on 16 acres includes the main administrative building, parking areas, an enclosed warehouse, a roofed parking and storage area, and a couple of open-air pavilions near an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and off-highway vehicle (OHV) training track, with classes to be offered starting this fall. The track and pavilions are expected to be finished soon.

An archery range is due to be added within a year, and a fishing pond also is possible at some point. Gray said the state is discussing the fishing area with the city of Roswell, which owns the land and is leasing it to the state.

Intended to be an educational and community resource, the facility also has been created as a model for good environmental practices, said Russell Benjamin, construction project manager for the Game and Fish Department.

It was originally intended to meet the criteria for Silver LEED certification, but it has earned enough points to qualify for Gold LEED certification, he said.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is a worldwide green-facility rating system that measures a project for its efficient use and sustainability of building materials, energy efficiency, operating cost efficiencies and its features that promote health and well-being.

The ratings available are Platinum, Gold, Silver and Certified, with different standards for various types of projects. There are more than 90,000 LEED projects in the United States, according to the U.S. Green Building Council, with several such projects in Roswell listed in its online directory, including the New Mexico Rehabilitation Center and a few New Mexico Military Institute and Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell buildings.

“Normally it takes six months to a year (to get completion of the certification),” he said, “because part of LEED is also to monitor the building and its function. So we are being certified by a third-party vendor on LEED, and he will track the utility bills and other things.”

Benjamin said some of what is entailed in meeting the LEED criteria include solar panels that will cover the majority of the electricity needs and energy-efficient LED lighting inside the buildings. Also, during the construction process, crews tracked to ensure that metal, cardboard, paper and other materials were recycled rather than placed in landfills.

Benjamin said Game and Fish also designed a similar facility in Albuquerque for LEED certification, with a Gold rating likely for that one as well.

“For the department, yes, it costs a little more up front to build it,” he said. “But in the long term, that money will be recouped in seven to 10 years in the reduced cost of operating it. There is a huge return on investment for doing that kind of work.”

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.