West Mifflin plans big move to new building
By Eric Slagle
Published: Tuesday, July 23, 2013, 4:21 a.m.
Plans to consolidate West Mifflin government services in one location are advancing.
The borough is in the process of buying the former Trumbull Corp. building on Lebanon Road for $3.5 million. The price includes about $1.6 million in improvements to be made by Trumbull, which relocated its headquarters to Pittsburgh in 2009.
Work is expected to begin sometime next month and finish around January.
The building will house administrative offices for the borough and the West Mifflin Area School District, borough public safety agencies, and current tenant UPMC Jefferson Regional Home Health.
A major factor in the borough's decision to buy the building is the need for a new police station. The station on Greensprings Avenue dates to 1930 and is in need of an estimated $1 million in repairs. It last was renovated in 1962.
Borough officials say it is not compliant with requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act because it lacks an elevator, has an inadequate HVAC system, leaks during wet weather, and its stone façade needs to be re-pointed.
Last year the borough spent about $10,000 on repairs to the station's HVAC system, police Chief Ken Davies said, “and still we have an outdated system.”
He said there are other functional issues that the new facility will alleviate. Police will have a secured entryway for handling prisoners, something they now lack.
Davies said that when police and borough administration shared space in the Greensprings building, there was not adequate separation between them. He said that will not be the case at the new borough building. Police and EMS services will have separate areas in the rear and be located on the ground floor of the split-level building.
Borough and school district offices will be on the second floor, and the home health offices will remain on the third floor.
“It solves a lot of issues,” borough manager Brian Kamauf said of the move.
Had the borough constructed a new building to house all the involved the agencies, Kamauf said the cost would have been roughly doubled.
“This wasn't a snap decision,” Kamauf said, adding that there has been talk for years about finding a new home for police.
He said the municipal building on Lebanon Church Road near the Allegheny County Airport — which the borough bought in 1996 and also is the school district's administrative headquarters — was considered as a location for the police station but rejected because it lacks adequate parking.
The borough likely will sell the building when it moves to Lebanon Road. Kamauf said he already has been contacted by prospective buyers.
West Mifflin Area Superintendent Daniel Castagna said the school board has approved the move.
He said the district is discussing a long-term lease with the borough, which likely will mean a savings from the $7,000 per month in rent the district now pays.
Under the proposed agreement, rent would be reduced for 10 years, and thereafter the district would pay only a management fee.
“Personally, I think it's a win-win for both the borough and the district,” Castagna said.
Mayor Chris Kelly said the arrangement should be “beneficial to every taxpayer in the borough.”
Down the road, Kelly and other borough officials said, the Lebanon Road property could house the public works department if funding is available for construction of a facility behind the offices.
Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1966, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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