New Digs: Forest Service, Town of Truckee, humane society, fire district will eventually move to 75-acre parcel |

New Digs: Forest Service, Town of Truckee, humane society, fire district will eventually move to 75-acre parcel

Seth Lightcap/Sierra SunThe first building at the new U.S. Forest Service complex off of Donner Pass Road will be the agency's fire station. The building will provide quarters for fire crews and year-round storage for engines and equipment.

The U.S. Forest Service is getting ready for a big move in Truckee ” across the freeway.

A 75-acre site south of Interstate 80 bordered by Donner Pass Road, Glenshire Drive and Highway 267 will replace the current Truckee District Ranger Station on Donner Pass Road just north of Interstate 80.

Already built on the site is a fire engine bay. That will be followed by the new ranger station, which will open its doors next summer, said Melissa Totheroh, an engineer with the Forest Service.

“Some of us are already cleaning out our offices,” said Debby Broback with Tahoe National Forest. “It will be more spacious and have a real open floor plan.”

Currently the Truckee Ranger Station holds between 40 and 80 people, so the new 11,535-square-foot building will give employees more room to work, Broback said.

For the public at large, the new ranger station will mean an improved visitor area and conference center, Broback said. The building will be the first Forest Service building in the state to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver certification, now mandated for new federal buildings over a certain size, Totheroh said.

That makes the project a little more expensive, totaling over $4 million, Totheroh said. The Forest Service awarded the construction contract to local builder Geney/Gassiot earlier this year. The cost of the new ranger station will be paid for with the proceeds from the sale of National Forest System land on Indian Jack Road above downtown Truckee where the Truckee Work Center had been located since the 1930s.

At two stories overlooking Glenshire Drive and the future Railyard site east of downtown, the new building will be able to take advantage of sun rays from the south during the winter, Totheroh said.

To make sure the new ranger station won’t stand out like a sore thumb for those looking up the hill, the building will be painted with natural colors and new trees will be planted on-site to replace ones taken out earlier during site cleanup, Broback said.

Potentially lead-contaminated soil from the site’s days as a town dump has now been securely buried on the slope above Glenshire Drive, insuring it can’t be kicked up as dust in the air, said Linda Zaleon, a staff engineer with the U.S. Forest Service.

“20,000 yards over 10 acres of soil was secured,” Zaleon said.

The fire engine bay, set to be completed sometime this summer, will give Forest Service firefighters and equipment a year-round home in Truckee, Totheroh said.

“In the summer engines are stationed at Stampede, Hobart Mills, and in the parking lot of our office,” Broback said. “Then they have to go down to Nevada City in the winter.”

Keeping the engines in Truckee year-round will make things easier for fall prescribed burns and other activities, she said.

Farther down the road if funding becomes available, the Forest Service could also build a full-on visitor center, potentially in collaboration with other government agencies, and personnel barracks for seasonal employees, Broback said.

In addition to the U.S. Forest Service buildings already underway, the Town of Truckee, Humane Society of Truckee Tahoe, and the Truckee Fire Protection District all have plans to move into the 75-acre site.

The town would move its corporation yard ” where heavy equipment like snowplows are stored ” and animal control building onto 20 acres of the site, said Tony Lashbrook, town manager.

“We could go out to bid sometime near the end of this year,” Lashbrook said. “Ideally we would move dirt next summer and in theory open in 2010, but more likely in 2011.”

Truckee Fire’s plans are a little farther out, said Fire Chief Bryce Keller.

“It’ll probably be another five to seven years, we have no immediate plans,” Keller said. “This is a great example of three government agencies coming together.”

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