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Allegheny County Health Department to move to interim space

| Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Allegheny County could spend nearly $18,000 to move health department employees who will move again in about seven months.

About 40 health department employees must move from their offices on Forbes Avenue in Oakland to a temporary space at the Kane Regional Center in Glen Hazel. From there, employees will move into a renovated former morgue in Downtown.

The Oakland building will be sold to a development team of Massaro Properties, Langholz Wilson Ellis and architect Tasso Katselas, which is planning a hotel and offices for the site.

The health department's new home at the old morgue will not be completed until June, but the county chose to leave the Oakland building in anticipation of its sale by the end of the year, county spokeswoman Amie Downs said. She said the move should be completed by Dec. 4.

Parks Moving and Storage of Cranberry won the contract to move the offices. The company submitted the lowest of three bids. It will charge the county $665.92 an hour to move office equipment. The contract, effective through Jan. 31, limits the cost to $17,979.84, which allows for up to 27 hours of work.

The county's Board of Health held its monthly meeting in the Kane Center on Wednesday and went on a short tour of the temporary office space, said Guillermo Cole, spokesman for the health department. Vacant rooms intended for Kane Center residents were converted into offices with network connections.

The health department has been based at the Forbes Avenue building, a former juvenile detention center and court building built in the 1930s, for 38 years, Cole said. The department moved from the City-County Building, Downtown, to Oakland in 1975 after Shuman Juvenile Detention Center was built.

“It's like back to the future,” Cole said of the department's move back to Downtown.

The second phase of the $7.8 million demolition and renovation project at the morgue is about 25 percent complete, Downs said.

Designed by Frederick Osterling, one of Pittsburgh's premier architects, the morgue was completed in 1903 and moved the length of a football field in 1929 to make room for the County Office Building. The Medical Examiner's Office moved out of the building in 2009 and relocated to the Strip District.

Aaron Aupperlee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7986 or aaupperlee@tribweb.com.

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