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Irwin hires architect to create building plans; propose renovations


An architectural firm has been hired by Irwin to design plans for the borough building and possible renovations to the 112-year-old structure on Main Street.

Ulery Architecture LLC of Unity was hired to create the architectural plans for the borough building at 424 Main St., because Irwin does not have any drawings for the structure, said Rick Burdelski, council president. The architect’s work is not to exceed $9,750, said Shari Martino, borough manager.

Borough officials have not found any drawings from when the building was constructed. According to the date etched in stone on the second story facade, it was built in 1911.

The building that once housed the West Penn Power Co. office, as well as the town’s police and fire department, now has Rosendahl’s Appliance Center as a tenant on the first floor. The police department is located off an alley in the rear of the second floor and the municipal offices are on the second floor, accessible from a door along Main Street in the front of the building. Neither the municipal offices nor the police department are wheelchair-accessible and the municipal offices are 25 steps above the ground floor.

Years ago, borough council held its meeting in a stage area behind the municipal offices. But council moved its meetings to a ground-floor room at the public works department building on First Street.

Shawn Ulery, president of Ulery Architecture, said he was asked to create the plans for the building, which is roughly 10,000-12,000 square feet, including the section containing the police department.

Ulery said his firm will provide schematic designs for possible renovations to the structure.

“Then it’s up to them,” to decide what to do, Ulery said.

The discussion about the scope of the project occurred within a closed-door executive session, said Martino, who declined further comment on the matter.

To make the existing site of the municipal offices and police department wheelchair accessible would require the installation of an elevator, which is expensive, Ulery said.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 focuses on making existing state and local government buildings built before 1990 “program accessible” to make sure that individuals with disabilities are not excluded from any program, service or activity provided by the state or local government because existing buildings and facilities are inaccessible, according to the U.S. Department of Justice website on standards required to comply with ADA.

State and local governments must look at their programs, services and activities in their entirety or as a whole to ensure that they are accessible to individuals with disabilities, the Justice Department stated.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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