Kathy Liebler
                        Director of Public Information

C   O   M   M   I   S   S   I   O   N                N   E   W   S             R   E   L   E   A   S   E   

  Contact:    Kathy Liebler, 717-939-9551, ext. 2840
                    Joe Agnello, 724-755-5262

September 21, 1999


Some 400 Turnpike employees to relocate to former IBM facility in Carlisle.

HARRISBURG, PA. — The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has begun construction of a 45,000 square-foot expansion and renovation of its 43-year-old central administration building on Eisenhower Boulevard near Turnpike Interchange 19 in Highspire. Officials anticipate that the $25 million project will be completed in March 2001.

"Our facility must be modernized and expanded to meet the needs of our growing workforce as we enter the 21st century," said Executive Director John T. Durbin. He noted that the central administration building has had no major renovations since it was constructed in 1956. "The building’s systems — including the electrical, plumbing and others — are antiquated and must be replaced," Durbin explained.

To reduce the construction time by approximately 12 months, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission will temporarily relocate approximately 400 employees at the central administration building to an 81,000-square-foot office at 176 Kost Road, Silver Spring Township. Employees will begin working in the two-story building (a former IBM facility) on Monday, Sept. 27.

"We expect that this will be a seamless transition, with no interruption in services to our customers and little inconvenience to our employees," Durbin said. "And, in early 2001, we will move back into a much improved working environment that will be flexible enough to allow the Turnpike Commission to adapt to virtually any future need."

The Commission has been leasing office space in the nearby Days Inn on Eisenhower Boulevard to accommodate workforce growth. Currently, 40 Turnpike employees work at the Days Inn annex. Also, a modular structure on the grounds of the central administration building houses 30 additional operations employees, most of who work for Turnpike communications and the Pennsylvania State Police.

"We simply ran out of office space [in the central administration building]," said Turnpike Facilities Manager Don Santostefano. "The 45,000-square-foot expansion will allow us to accommodate all Turnpike central-office personnel in one building."

Santostefano added that the existing building will be gutted, and the interior will be reconstructed in an "open-office" design featuring few enclosed offices or walls. New electric, plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems will be installed. A new main entrance — a dramatic, three-story glass atrium — will be built on the north side of the building.

"The renovation is also more worker-friendly, with enhanced lighting and acoustical systems," Santostefano said. The new design incorporates natural light and indirect lighting, and a "sound-masking system" reduces the distance that voices travel in the open configuration.

Santostefano said the building features upgraded voice, video and data communications infrastructure as well. "With immediate access to the fiber-optic cabling under the raised flooring, every workstation has entry to the Turnpike’s network," he explained.

Santostefano added that the renovated facility is friendlier to the environment: It is more energy-efficient and incorporate water-saving features. Additionally, modern "green building" techniques — including the use of recycled materials — will be employed during the construction process. In fact, most of the original materials, such as the marble walls, the walnut paneling and the natural stone, have been integrated into the new design.

Other improvements include:

  • A complete, modern fire and security system;
  • A "comfort-zone" HVAC system that allows control of heating and cooling directly at the occupant level; and
  • Enhanced exterior surroundings featuring parking separated by planting areas to conceal 400 vehicles, a walking path for employees and new signage.

Executive Director Durbin said that the Commission decided not to build an all new headquarters facility because renovation and expansion was a more cost-effective alternative. This option also enables the Commission to keep its Lower Swatara Township site overlooking the Turnpike. "We have our roots in this community," he said. "Our continued presence here is important to us and to our neighbors."

The construction management firm overseeing the project is CCI Construction Company Inc., Mechanicsburg, Pa.; the architect is Burt Hill Kosar Rittlemann Associates, Butler, Pa.


 P.O. Box 67676, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7676         Phone: (717) 939-9551         Fax: (717) 986-9649