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Work begins on Carbon building

Work has officially begun on the new Carbon County Children and Youth Services building in Lehighton.

On Monday, crews demolished one section of 525 Iron St., which had been vacant for years, and will rebuild that portion of the building to better serve the needs of the county.

Commissioner Rocky Ahner said that the completion of the front of the building will now be weather dependent, with an anticipated completion date in April.

The commissioners, in a 2-1 vote, with Commissioner Chris Lukasevich voting no, hired several companies in October to complete the work to make the space ready for Children and Youth. The contracts combined total $2,518,060, which will be covered using American Rescue Plan funding and then reimbursed by the Children and Youth department.

Ahner said previously the reason the county is proceeding with demolishing that portion and rebuilding is due to costs. It will cost less this way than to renovate the existing structure.

CMG of Easton Inc. of Easton was awarded the general contract at a low bid of $1,239,000. Electrical was awarded to Urban Electrical Contractors Inc. of Dunmore for $530,000. Mechanical was awarded to the second lowest bidder, Master Mechanical Corp. of McAdoo for $521,480 after the lowest bidder had technical deficiencies in the bid. Plumbing was awarded to Dewalt Plumbing of Easton for $148,800 and fire protection was awarded to Triangle Fire Protection Inc. of Carlisle for $78,780.

Carbon County purchased the building from St. Luke’s last year at a cost of $500,000.

The building previously housed the St. Luke’s wound care center and additional empty office space. It has 9,641 square feet of space usable on the main floor, with an additional 5,000 square feet of space in the basement. The 1,904 square feet of unrenovated space in the front of the building will be recreated through the upcoming project.

Carbon County currently has 26 employees in the Children and Youth department but will be expanding to help lower the caseloads per caseworker as per the state requirements. That department uses 4,800 square feet at its present location in Jim Thorpe, but has outgrown that size.

Crews demolish the front portion of the Carbon County-owned building at 525 Iron St., Lehighton, Monday. The building will eventually house Children and Youth Services. TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS
An artist's rendering of the planned building at 525 Iron St., Lehighton. TIMES NEWS FILE PHOTO