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Brentwood Public Works facility to open doors to public

| Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 9:01 p.m.
Members of the Brentwood Public Works Department will hold an open house of the new facility on Monday.

A 12,000-square-foot facility with easy-access parking for all 10 public-works vehicles; two washing stations; and storage areas for tools, shovels and equipment is a welcome change from the cramped quarters inside the basement of the Brentwood municipal building.

Brentwood's 10-member public-works department moved into a newly constructed building off of East Willock Road at the beginning of the year after working out of a tight T-shaped space inside in the rear of the borough building for decades, said Bob Mackewich, public-works supervisor.

The space was so tight that crews often had to move several vehicles just to get the one they wanted to use out of the one main garage door.

Having a new building all its own, off of the main thoroughfare, has been nice, Mackewich said.

“It's just the room itself. It's psychological a little bit because it's all new. It's brighter,” Mackewich said.

Borough officials will hold an open house from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday at the new building, with a ribbon cutting at 6 p.m. The event was scheduled to coincide with National Public Works Week.

The building is located in the Brentwood Hollow on East Willock Road at the bottom of the hill between Brownsville and Prospect roads.

Brentwood leaders in the last several years looked at ways to remodel the municipal complex on Brownsville Road, borough manager George Zboyovsky said.

One proposal estimated the cost of building a new municipal facility at the current location at about $14 million, he said. That proposal included keeping the public-works department in the municipal building.

Borough leaders then began to look moving the public-works department to a different site, Zboyovsky said. An initial proposal was to construct the public works building at the East Willock site for $3 million, he said.

A “design build” project, though, cost much less than the estimate, Zboyovsky said. The construction cost ended up being $1.6 million and the total project cost was $2 million.

A “design build” meant that borough officials and public-works crews provided only “very generic” ideas for what they wanted in the building, and the company designed the rest, Zboyovsky said. Allegheny Construction Group came in with the lowest bid and favored design, he said.

The move took public-works crews, which often work late at night with noisy trucks, out of the borough's main business district and abutting residential neighborhood, Zboyovsky said.

The new facility also provides more space for crews that often had to “swap out” summer and winter equipment between the main garage at the municipal building and a nearby garage because of the cramped conditions.

The public-works department also must store seasonal items, such as Christmas decorations and snow shovels. And then there's the sewer machine, compressor and wood chipper.

About $20,000 worth of shelving was purchased for the new site.

“Before, we had one tool over here, one tool over there,” said Mackewich, noting the area has a custom workbench, lots of open space for parking vehicles, and a break room and training area that is nicer than what the department had in the old location.

The new building also has a women's locker room, in case a woman joins the department.

“You never know. We are an equal-opportunity employer,” Mackewich said.

Public-works crews kept a bit of an old facility for the new one. A stone wall built in the parking area is constructed from pieces of the old, now-demolished Brentwood Stadium press box. A ladder from one of the light trestles also will be added at the site.

Crews even welded the word “Brentwood” into a chain that goes across the front of the property at night, Mackewich said.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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