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Work to begin soon on agricultural heritage center

April 30, 2007|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Construction contracts totaling $2,185,500 were awarded last week for a Franklin County Agricultural Heritage Building, with work expected to begin in the next four to five weeks.

Thursday also was moving day for the county's Area Agency on Aging, the Chambersburg Senior Activities Center and Mental Retardation offices.

Palmer Construction Inc. of McConnellsburg, Pa., was awarded the contract for general construction by the Board of County Commissioners. Palmer was the lowest of five bidders with a price of $1,663,000.

Stouffer Mechanical received the heating and air-conditioning contract for a bid price of just under $200,000. That company also received the plumbing contract for the 14,000-square foot building for $84,800.

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Ellsworth Electric of Pennsylvania was awarded a $168,250 contract for the electrical work and Eastern Elevator submitted a winning bid of $69,200 for the building's elevator.

The current cost projection for the building, including furnishing, equipment, a 10 percent construction contingency allowance and other soft costs is $2,833,050, according to county figures. Two million dollars was included in the 2007 county budget for the building, County Administrator John Hart said.

Another $300,000 has been committed to the project by the county Conservation District and $300,000 more has been raised through donations, Hart said.

"We're on the hunt" for additional money, if needed, to complete the project, Hart said.

The center would become home to various government entities that serve the farming community, such as the Franklin County Conservation District and related offices, Elliott said.

"It's going to be a good project with agriculture being the county's number one industry," said Hart. Along with the Conservation District offices, the county is talking with other federal and state agricultural agencies about becoming tenants.

The Penn State Extension Service will be in another building on Franklin Farm Lane, making it a "one-stop shop," for agricultural services, Hart said. The building is scheduled to take one year to build after construction begins, he said.

The Area Agency on Aging and senior center are both moving from the county's Administrative Annex on North Second Street to a building at 600 Norland Ave. owned by the Franklin County Area Development Corp., Hart said. The building also houses the Pennsylvania CareerLink job center office for the county.

The Mental Retardation office will move from the county Human Services Building on Franklin Farm Lane to the vacated Aging office, Hart said. The move frees up needed space in the Human Services Building for other program offices, he said.

The part of the Administrative Annex that was used by the senior center could be converted to conference or office space, he said.

The offices and senior center are expected to be open at their new locations today, Hart said.

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