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Penn Hills

Penn Hills weeks away from opening first new municipal building in 50 years

Dillon Carr
| Wednesday, May 30, 2018, 4:27 p.m.
This photo from Wednesday, May 23, 2018, shows the progress of construction at the site of the new Penn Hills Municipal Building.
Lillian DeDomenic | For the Tribune-Review
This photo from Wednesday, May 23, 2018, shows the progress of construction at the site of the new Penn Hills Municipal Building.

After a 50-year run, Penn Hills employees will move to a new municipal building in mid-June.

Police Chief Howard Burton said municipal employees and police personnel moved into the building at 12245 Frankstown Road in 1968. Burton started his career there in 1969 on the department's patrol division.

He said he is excited to be in a new building. He said the department is working to develop a strategy for how to relocate while offering police coverage at the same time.

“We operate 24/7. We can't just shut down. So it's a work in progress for us. We're trying to figure out a seamless plan,” Burton said.

He said the move cannot happen until the new building gets electronic security locks installed on all the doors. Each lock will have a different security level, he said.

When the locks are installed, officers will likely move their own gear while public works employees will move larger furniture items. Lieutenants will be in charge of moving evidence, he said.

Moving employees to the new complex will be the priority, Burton said. After that happens, a statue of a patrolman kneeling at a grave in front of the old municipal building will be moved along with a monument there honoring veterans.

The new $12.3 million complex will consolidate Penn Hills police, EMS and municipal offices on 15.9 acres at the former Penn Hebron school on Duff Road. It will also have a firefighter training area.

Penn Hills EMS Supervisor Diane Fitzhenry said she is looking forward to working closely with other employees.

“This will be the first time in Penn Hills EMS 44-year history where everything is in close proximity. We've always been scattered throughout the municipal building,” Fitzhenry said. The municipality's Emergency Medical Services started in 1974, she said.

She said the EMS department's six ambulances will be housed at the new building, a luxury the department has not had.

“We have four trucks crammed into a space fit for two. And we're keeping two trucks at Universal Park,” Fitz­henry said.

No exact move-out date has been announced.

Administrative secretary Maureen Source said she and other employees have nevertheless been preparing for a move by shredding old documents and scanning others, clearing offices and packing boxes.

“It's beautiful and nice, very clean,” she said. “We're definitely not used to that.”

Source said municipal employees will hold a dedication ceremony after the move.

Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2325, or via Twitter @dillonswriting.

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