LePage Administration Unveils New Building with Focus on Welfare Reform

January 5, 2015

For Immediate Release: Monday, January 05, 2015
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

Facility focuses on transition from welfare to work

AUGUSTA – Continuing his focus on transitioning Mainers from welfare to work, Governor Paul R. LePage today unveiled a new facility that consolidates the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Department of Education (DOE) and Department of Labor (DOL) offices. The building, located in South Portland, saves State of Maine taxpayers more than $23 million.

Compared to current Portland leased facility rates, the building saves Maine taxpayers $23.4 million over the next 30 years. Under the Governor’s leadership, the State of Maine last year signed a contract with ELC Construction, Inc. for the lease of new offices in South Portland.

Commissioners of the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Labor, Mary Mayhew and Jeanne Paquette, joined Governor LePage to provide a preview of the newest effort to consolidate government buildings and services. ELC Construction, Inc. representatives and state employees also attended today’s tour.

“This building consolidates these agencies under one roof and provides Mainers with easily accessible resources and services to help them succeed,” said Governor LePage. “Our Administration looks forward to serving Mainers at this new location and continuing to offer the training and assistance they need to successfully transition them from welfare to a career they enjoy.”

Additionally, the Bureau of Veterans’ Services will join DHHS and DOL in the new facility to better assist veterans seeking assistance or employment. More than 22, 000 veterans or 18 percent of the state’s veteran population lives in Cumberland County. The Bureau of Veterans Services is excited about the opportunity to co-locating with DHHS and DOL to provide a one-stop shop for veterans seeking state or federal benefits.

The 30-year lease will provide the State with 75,000 square feet of space for DHHS and DOL to co-locate their Cumberland County offices. The consolidation of the two agencies into one location will make it easier for clients to access services provided by both agencies and promote the Administration’s goal of enabling Mainers toward economic independence by providing opportunities to move from welfare to work. “We are an administration that looks out for the taxpayers of Maine. This is a win-win for everyone, saving money and helping people,” added the Governor.

Under the terms of the new Cumberland County Regional Office lease, the rate per square foot in the first three years will be $19. Even after escalators provide for periodic increases over the 30-year term, the final price per square foot at the end of the lease in 2045 will remain about $3 less than today’s rate of almost $30 at the current DHHS leased space on Marginal Way in Portland.

The new facility will be open to the public starting January 26, 2015, for both DHHS and DOL and CareerCenter services.