Forest officials announce the construction of a new USDA Sequoia National Forest Headquarters in Porterville. Historic vision coming true in Porterville.
Construction of the new $7.5 million facility began in February on Forest Service land and will welcome Forest Service staff and visitors in 2022.
According to Forest Supervisor Teresa Benson, the Sequoia National Forest Headquarters is coming back to Henrahan work center. Portions of the work center where the new headquarters will be located were constructed in the late 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps with funding from President Roosevelt’s New Deal.
Since the 1940s, the Forest Headquarters has moved to leased facilities throughout Porterville. For years, Forest Supervisors and engineers continued to discuss moving the facility back to the work center located on Henrahan. Engineering staff designed a new headquarters for the work center site in the 1950s, but the project never came to fruition. Although it has taken a long time to fulfill this vision, we are looking forward to the new state-of-the-art facility for the community to use and enjoy,” Supervisor Benson explained.
The new headquarters, designed by MFDB Architects located in Sacramento, will be a one-story, 11,000-square-foot facility with a Visitor’s Information Center, open-air cubicles, and meeting spaces. “Our new facility will serve as “home base” for 66 employees, including the Central California Interagency Communications Center (CCICC or dispatch). In addition, it will function as a point of contact for Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument visitors,” Supervisor Benson stated. “The architecture, interior design, and landscape of the office will incorporate the principles of sustainability, reflect its place within the natural and cultural landscape, and provide forest services to visitors and partners.”
The contract to construct the energy-efficient building was awarded to Strategic Industry, Inc., of Kingsburg. “More than 30 subcontractors are working on the project, which will employ up to 60 at any given time on site. Overall, over 175 tradesmen and women will work on this project, ” stated Strategic Industry, Inc., Director of Operations, Leo Duran. “We’re also obtaining materials from a local Porterville supplier, as well as employing Porterville subcontractors.”
The exterior includes a communications tower, wood decks, tables for sitting, vegetative swales, and a walking bridge. “Also, we are working with the California Native Plant Society to design an environmentally friendly landscape,” Supervisor Benson added.The new headquarters will be conveniently located near downtown Porterville, within easy walking distance to shopping and dining. The location is adjacent to the Porterville “Rails to Trails” that features a pet-friendly, safe, and convenient opportunity to walk, jog, or bike.
The Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument encompass more than 1.1 million acres within the Fresno, Tulare, and Kern counties of California. The Forest is within a day’s drive of the coast, Los Angeles, and San Diego, with easy access for visitors worldwide.
Sequoia National Forest offers 52 developed campgrounds, hiking on more than 1,147 miles of trails, including 47 miles of the PCT, over 314,448 acres of wilderness, 222 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers, 2,617 rivers and streams, world-class whitewater rapids, 158 ponds and lakes, boating, fishing, horseback riding and more.
Once completed, we invite you to visit the new headquarters, enjoy Porterville and learn about all the great recreational opportunities the Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument have to offer.Sequoia National Forest announces construction of New Forest Headquarters”
End of Press Release
Following numerous negative comments from the public on their Facebook page, the Sequoia National Forest has posted this update in response:
Thank you for the questions and comments – Funding for the new facility is not from our appropriated Forest operations budget, but nationally appropriated dollars, tied directly to providing new facilities where long term cost savings will be realized. This is a very competitive process to get approved and does not impact our regional or forest budget in any way. The building has an expected 50+ year life. After approximately 10 years the costs savings of not having annual lease payments will have paid for the new energy efficient building and result in a cost savings for the taxpayer. Currently, we have 3 buildings that are leasing and/or maintaining. This new building will allow us to consolidate into one building – reducing our overall operations and maintenance costs.