By Dainel J. Calderon
Los Angeles District
WELLTON, Ariz. — The Customs and Border Protection Agency cut the ribbon to officially open the new border patrol station here during a ceremony March 22.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District broke ground on the facility in March 2010. Okland Construction was the contractor for the project. More than 100 people attended the groundbreaking and the CBP hosted an equivalent crowd for the ceremony signaling the beginning of the new facility's fully operational life.
"I think this is the nicest station and facility in the Border Patrol right now," said Yuma Sector Acting Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Justin Bristow.
The new station will support up to 375 Customs and Border Protection agents. The facility includes several buildings on the site. The primary station building contains office space; a muster, quiet room and training area; a detention area and an exercise and locker room. The second building is a maintenance facility for vehicles and electronic gear. Other buildings on site are essentially canopies for vehicle refueling operations and a vehicle wash area.
Rick Polanco was the on-site engineer who processed modifications for the project. Among his tasks were creating the initial change request to estimating, negotiating and ensuring the Arizona-Nevada Area Office received change packages. Polanco began working during the construction phase. He praised Troy Olsen, the resident engineer for the Arizona-Nevada Area office, and said the District team worked well together and were ready to face any challenges.
"I could tell from the moment I stepped foot on the site we had a great group of USACE personnel, from Ray Salas and John Mallin -- our chief construction representatives -- and Rob Crist -- our project engineer -- to our Lisa Robinson -- our admin support staff," Polanco explained. "We knew the task at hand was not going to be easy, but it could be handled if we worked together and broke up the big issues into more manageable problems and tasks to tackle."
CBP agents in attendance had high praise for the facility. The Yuma Sector, of which the Wellton station is a part, patrols 126 miles of border with Mexico, between the Yuma-Pima County line in Arizona and the Imperial Sand Dunes in California.