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Ogdensburg Customs House renovation nearly done; Border Patrol moving back

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OGDENSBURG — Renovation of the Robert C. McEwen Customs House at 127 N. Water St. is nearing completion, with the U.S. Border Patrol set to move back into the historic building early next year.

Frederick S. Morrill, Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority deputy executive director and chief financial officer, said the agency has given notice that it will be leaving an OBPA-owned building at the U.S. port of entry to move back to the McEwen building at the end of February.

“The interior is scheduled to be complete in the next few weeks,” General Service Administration spokesman Dan Cruz said Friday.

The federal agency manages the building.

“This phase of the project started in July 2013 and the cost to date is about $1.8 million,” Mr. Cruz said. “The project will preserve a historic facility that dates back to the 1830s, while making necessary upgrades so that it will continue to serve the American people.”

The 200-year-old Ogdensburg landmark is the country’s oldest federal building still in use.

According to a 2009 GSA job-bidding description, the purpose of the renovation of the four-story, 24,000-square-foot building is to make sure it meets updated U.S. Customs and Border Protection requirements.

The upgrades include a separate prisoner and processing unit, accommodations for a canine division, a secure entry, waiting and reception areas, office and conference room space, men’s and women’s locker rooms, a gated area for prisoner delivery, secure perimeter fencing, an elevator and a second interior fire stair.

The building was last renovated in 1936. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

GSA has paid the OBPA $60,000 rent annually for the Border Patrol’s occupancy of the port of entry building since 2010, Mr. Morrill said.

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