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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
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Phone: (651) 290-5807
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Corps retires Grand Forks, N.D., office

Published March 11, 2014

After more than 15 years of maintaining a presence in Grand Forks, N.D., the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers closed its doors recently.

With the completion of the $450 million flood control project for Grand Forks and East Grand Forks, Minn., in 2007 and the moving of the St. Paul District’s Western Area Office from Grand Forks to Fargo, N.D., in 2012, the district decided closing the Grand Forks office made sense. “The office served its purpose extremely well but now lacks sufficient projects to finance its long-term viability,” said Jim Peak, St. Paul District’s construction chief. “The Grand Forks office space lease was expiring this year, and we were facing relocation in any event. This was the logical time to take action on the closure.

“The closure was primarily driven by economic realities, similar to those faced widely across government today,” he continued. “As the scope and funding of our construction has decreased, we must reduce costs.” 

The St. Paul District opened the Grand Forks Western Area Office in 1998 to oversee district work northwest of the district’s headquarters in St. Paul, Minn. The Grand Forks resident office, co-located with the Western Area Office, was opened a year later to directly oversee construction in Grand Forks and its surrounding area. With the massive amount of effort needed to complete the flood control project there, the district also opened an East Grand Forks Resident Office in 2001.

Virginia Regorrah, who worked as the resident engineer at the East Grand Forks office but is now with contracting, said, at its peak, the Western Area Office had five resident offices and 37 people. There was one person in Devils Lake, N.D.; two in the Mississippi River headwaters area; one at Homme Dam near Park River, N.D.; five in Fargo; and 27 in Grand Forks.

“The office was down-sized through a variety of personnel actions, including retirements, early retirements, non-renewal of temporary employees and students and completion of contracts for quality assurance specialists,” she said. “Among the permanent employees, a small number moved to other locations in the St. Paul District. Most found other employment both inside and outside the federal government.”

Peak said the district continues to oversee its western area work out of its new Western Area Office in Fargo. “It’s never easy to move, but we are excited about future possibilities in the Fargo area,” he said. “We will be well positioned to transition into the Fargo-Moorhead challenge if the project is authorized and funded.”