BLM celebrates grand opening |

BLM celebrates grand opening

New building enhances visitors' first impressions of Craig

Rob Gebhart

The Bureau of Land Management Little Snake Field Office celebrated the grand opening of its new building Thursday with music, food and a visit from Smokey Bear.

The new office building to the east of Craig will house 40 BLM employees and 20 interagency fire staff.

“It’s a great addition to the community, and it’s going to be a great productive workplace,” said Doug Koza, BLM associate state director.

“The BLM Little Snake Field Office and the Interagency Fire Dispatch Center are important fixtures in the Craig community,” Little Snake Field Manager John Husband said. “This new building is a positive addition to the image of Craig and the BLM.”

The original Little Snake Field Office was constructed in 1968. As the field office grew, the BLM constructed additions and placed modular trailers around the premises. BLM employees joked that the building was a maze.

But safety issues developed in that building, Koza said. The new building has solved those issues.

The new building also should be more energy efficient than its predecessor.

Husband dedicated the Gebhart Room to Larry Gebhart, a BLM engineer who worked on many local projects, including the new building. He died of cancer in April.

Project manager Bill Norkoli of Denver’s Centerre Government Contractors said he was proud of the building, especially the entrance and its lighting, which he described as “striking.”

Koza’s company subcontracted local electricians, painters, masons, roofers and excavators during construction. All subcontractors but one are on the Western Slope.

Craig Chamber of Commerce Director Cathy Vanatta described the building as an attractive addition to Craig’s east entrance that demonstrates the city’s progressiveness.

The Little Snake Field Office encompasses 3,258,000 acres of federal, state and private lands in Moffat, Routt and Rio Blanco counties. Of the area, 1.3 million acres are public lands administered by the BLM and 1.1 million acres of the private and state lands are underlain by federally owned minerals.

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