Kathy Liebler

Manager, Public Affairs & Media Relations

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


Carl DeFebo: 717.939.9551 ext. 2934

May 2, 2001


Enviro-conscious building features a 48,000 square-foot addition.

HARRISBURG, PA. (May 2, 2001)The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission will move back to its original Eisenhower Boulevard office building — situated near the Harrisburg East Interchange in Highspire — on Monday, May 7. More than 400 Turnpike head-office employees and Pennsylvania State Police Troop T personnel had been housed the past 19 months in a workplace in Silver Spring Township, Cumberland County, while construction work was in progress.

The $25 million renovation and expansion of the Turnpike’s central administration building began in September 1999 and marked the first major overhaul of the 44-year-old structure. During the project, the building was completely gutted of all systems and finishes. The upgraded office features a more modern and efficient design and a 48,000 square-foot expansion.

"At long last, our entire central office staff will once again be working together under one roof," said Executive Director John T. Durbin. He noted that, before construction began, the Commission had to lease space in a nearby building to accommodate workforce growth; about 40 Turnpike employees worked at the annex for 5 years prior to the remodeling project’s start.

Not only is the new building bigger, but it’s also friendlier to the environment: It is more energy efficient, incorporates numerous water-saving features, is more durable and easier to maintain.

"We expect utilities consumption in the new building to be the same as or lower than consumption in the original building," said Turnpike Facilities Manager Don Santostefano. "This is remarkable when you consider that the new facility is much larger and will house the additional employees that had been formerly stationed in satellite locations."

Furthermore, modern "green building" techniques — including the use of recycled materials — were employed during the reconstruction project.

"Many of the original materials — such as marble walls, walnut paneling and the natural stone façade — have been integrated into the new design," Santostefano said. "Table tops in the employee cafeteria and several conference rooms, for instance, have been fashioned from marble salvaged from the walls of the original building."

The remodeled office features upgraded voice, video and data communications infrastructure as well. With immediate access to the nearly 75 miles of high-speed data cabling under the raised flooring, each of the 370 workstations and 40 offices has entry to computer and voice networks.

Other high-tech features include a cutting-edge operations center to more effectively monitor and dispatch aid to roadway incidents and to support the present implementation and future expansion of the Turnpike’s Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) initiative. The operations center — housed on the first floor of a dramatic glass-and-steel expansion on the building’s southern elevation — never stops running. Travelers on the Turnpike driving past Harrisburg can easily observe the operations center in action, especially at night.

Besides the improved operations center and wiring setup, the new building incorporates other innovative elements as well. New video teleconferencing facilities enable enhanced statewide communications and a contemporary customer-assistance center improves the handling of phone inquiries from Turnpike customers.

"With this state-of-the-art technology, our new facility will be flexible enough to adapt to virtually any future need," Durbin said. "Helping our employees perform their jobs more efficiently will result in a better roadway and improved service for our customers."

The renovated facility is also more occupant friendly, with enhanced lighting, acoustical and HVAC systems. "The new design incorporates natural and indirect lighting, and a sound-masking system reduces the distance that voices travel in the open-office configuration," Santostefano said. "A comfort-zone system allows control of heating and cooling directly at the occupant level, and the advanced HVAC system will help ensure excellent indoor air quality."

Durbin said that the Commission decided not to build an all-new headquarters facility when a feasibility study revealed that 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 architect for the project — that was completed on time and under budget — was Burt Hill Kosar Rittlemann Associates, Butler, Pa.; Alexander Constructors Inc., Harrisburg, was construction manager.


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