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Demolition to kick-start community college's plan for Latrobe complex

| Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, 12:02 a.m.
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An artist’s rendering shows the main entrance of the Latrobe campus of Westmoreland County Community College.
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An artist’s rendering shows the rear entrance of the Latrobe campus of Westmoreland County Community College.

A contractor plans to begin demolishing a cluster of commercial and residential buildings in downtown Latrobe on Monday to clear the site for construction of a Westmoreland County Community College campus, anticipated to open in fall 2014.

A.W. McNabb, owner of A.W. McNabb LLC of Burgettstown, said he plans to bring an excavator into the city to raze the nine buildings that WCCC purchased for the site of its Laurel Education campus. McNabb said his company, which was awarded a $93,580 contract for the project, will pull down the buildings rather than use a crane with a wrecking ball to raze them.

The buildings — some have been boarded over during the past several months — stand between Bank and Depot streets, and Jefferson Street and Loyalhanna Creek.

The only building that will remain standing in that quadrangle is L&L Quik Lube at 102 Depot St., whose owners did not sell to the college. Angelo Caruso, a co-owner of the business, declined to comment on a meeting the owners had with college officials in December.

“We have no plans to move,” Caruso said.

During the demolition, which is scheduled for completion within 100 days, Latrobe will close Bank Street for safety reasons, said city manager Alex Graziani. Traffic signs will be posted along Jefferson Street.

The demolition had been delayed from December because the state Bureau of Historic Preservation had sought more information about four of the buildings, according to Hallie Chatfield, revitalization coordinator for the redevelopment authority.

Because money from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development is being used to pay for the demolition, the architecture and the interiors of those buildings had to be photographed.

The preliminary design of the Laurel Education campus is nearly complete, said Ronald E. Eberhardt, vice president of administrative services at the college based near Youngwood.

The detailed documents necessary to seek bids on the project are not yet complete, Eberhardt said.

The college plans to advertise for bids in mid- to late April and hopes to begin construction in mid-summer, Eberhardt said.

The new education center will replace one on Lloyd Avenue. The college expects it will be ready for use for the fall semester in 2014.

“There is nothing (now) that would throw us off schedule,” Eberhardt said.

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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