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Next step in new WCCC campus set

| Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, 9:01 p.m.

A group of nine commercial and residential buildings on Latrobe's Depot and Jefferson streets will soon be demolished to pave the way for Westmoreland County Community College's new campus.

The Westmoreland County Redevelopment Authority has advertised for bids to be opened on Tuesday for the demolition of buildings in the 100 block of Depot Street and one structure at 703 Jefferson St. The county's request for proposals includes removing asbestos and clearing the site.

The redevelopment authority had a pre-bid meeting with four demolition companies and anticipates awarding a contract at the redevelopment authority meeting at the end of the month, Kopas said. Demolition could begin in January, and the county expects to have the site cleared within 100 days of the start of the project, Kopas said.

Ann Powell, Latrobe's code enforcement officer, said she does not expect the county to apply for a demolition permit until the contract is awarded.

The demolition could result in some traffic restrictions, including closing Bank Street, an alley abutting the Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks, Kopas said.

The demolition process can move forward because the community college recently finalized the purchase of all the properties it needs for the new 26,000-square-foot Laurel Education Center, said Ronald E. Eberhardt, vice president of administrative services at the college. The current Latrobe campus is housed in a former Kennametal Corp. building near the south bank of Loyalhanna Creek.

L.R. Kimball of Ebensburg will do the engineering and design work on the new facility.

The college hopes to begin construction next spring and complete it by the spring of 2014. The cost of property acquisition, construction and equipment for the modern education center will be close to $10 million, Eberhardt said.

To provide parking for faculty, staffers and students in downtown Latrobe, the college last year acquired three parcels, including two parking lots at Depot and Jefferson streets, from the city for $75,000.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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