New public works facility could bring efficiency to Fox Chapel Borough

Plans are being made for new public works building in Fox Chapel.
Plans are being made for new public works building in Fox Chapel.
Photo by Jan Pakler | for The Herald
Tawnya Panizzi
| Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Fox Chapel Council is mulling the idea of a new public works facility that would cost $3.5 million.

The proposed complex would replace three aging steel buildings behind the municipal office along Fox Chapel Road.

Plans also call for a cold storage shed.

“Plans are in the very initial stages,” Manager Gary Koehler said. “This is just to show everyone what it could look like.”

Council reviewed drawings this month, and approved specifications to be drawn up for the first phase of the project, which would include a storage building and above-ground fuel tanks.

The shed is expected to be an unheated, low-cost structure, Koehler said. It would include large bins to store stone and sand, rather than dumping those supplies directly onto the floor as is done now, Koehler said.

“If nothing else, we will have a new cold storage building,” Koehler said. “This will stay even if we don't move forward with the rest of the project.”

Council has been discussing possibilities for most of this year. The current public works buildings, built between the 1950s and 1980s, have reached the limit of their usefulness, Koehler said.

One is a repair garage and the other two house the borough's trucks.

If approved, one new building would accommodate everything.

Koehler said it would be slightly larger than the current structures, but what's significant is that it would be built for efficiency.

“There would be mezzanine-type levels that can be used for storage instead of just having a big open space,” he said. “It would give you the ability to store a lot above the trucks.”

Koehler said the project would take place in phases over three years. Borough crews would do some of the work, such as grading and pipe installation.

“It's still all concept at this point,” he said.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or

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