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Merged district magistrate's office plans ready for review

| Monday, Nov. 30, 2009

Final plans have been drawn up for a new district magistrate's office in northern Westmoreland County.

The office, which officials want to open by June or July, will consolidate the Lower Burrell and Vandergrift district judge offices on three-quarters of an acre in the Towne Center Plaza, off Route 56.

District Judge Cheryl Peck Yakopec, whose current office in Lower Burrell also handles cases from Upper Burrell, will direct the merged magisterial territory starting next year and continuing through the 2011 election.

District Judge Bernice McCutcheon of Vandergrift is retired.

The consolidated office will handle cases from Upper Burrell, Allegheny Township, East Vandergrift, Hyde Park, Oklahoma and West Leechburg, as well as Lower Burrell and Vandergrift.

The final plans are slated to go to Allegheny Township zoning officials for review in early December, said Deputy Court Administrator Don Heagy.

"I think this will be great for the region," Heagy said. "There will be additional space inside and additional parking. Neither office has enough now."

Construction will begin no later than spring, and the office should be open for business in June or July, he said.

Until then, both offices will remain open, although the Vandergrift office will close on Dec. 7 and 8 so officials can close out some bank accounts and transfer others.

Until the new office opens, Yakopec will have office hours in both Vandergrift and Lower Burrell.

Staff will continue to work at both offices and will work in the consolidated office.

Heagy said construction bids have not been sought.

The new office will be a modular building with the same footprint of new district judge's offices in Youngwood, Jeannette and Monessen.

Those offices cost about $600,000 to open, Heagy said.

The county owns the Vandergrift district judge's office and may choose to sell it.

Westmoreland County leases the Lower Burrell building.

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