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Erie’s Gannon University will open a new South Hall in August

Editor’s Note: This story is part of a recurring series that will provide updates on the status of properties of interest in the Erie area. Do you have a story suggestion? Email [email protected]

The reimagining of the former Regional Center for Workforce Excellence building, located at 155 W. Eighth St., is approaching the finish line.

And just in time.

The four-story structure, which Gannon University purchased for $825,000 in February 2020, must be ready for students to move in by August 19. The building has been renamed South Hall and will accommodate 95 students.

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From the outside, this timeline might look like a size order for the 40,000 square foot building, located at West Eighth and Sassafras streets. Construction equipment and fencing surrounded much of the building during a July 20 visit.

And the first floor still looked like a construction area.

Things were different on the upper floors, however, where workers carried out finishing work from the top floor down, said Doug Oathout, a spokesperson for the University, which expects 11 million dollars are invested in the project when the last student moves out. in.

The building offers 95 single rooms arranged in suites that include one, two or three bedrooms in addition to a bathroom and a common area. Most of these rooms were done or nearly done 10 days ago, just waiting for furniture or maybe some finishing touches.

With blue-gray carpeting and gray trim, the rooms on the different floors mostly looked the same. This will change when the furniture arrives. Oathout said each floor will have a unique identity with a color scheme that reflects Erie’s changing appearance from sunrise to sunset.

Each of the four main floors includes a large living room and a fully equipped kitchen.

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On July 20, Plyer Entry Systems crews were busy installing a unique feature in the fourth-floor lounge, a series of four garage-style glass doors that can be opened outwards when weather permits.

In addition to a laundry room, the building’s finished basement includes space for a living room and 15 storage rooms that can be rented by student residents.

Structural and aesthetic improvements have also been made to the building’s 100-space parking lot.

Although Oathout described the building as structurally sound, all electrical and plumbing systems as well as heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems have been replaced.

“Everything is new,” he said.

A communal kitchen area is located on each floor of South Hall on the Gannon University campus under construction in Erie on July 20, 2022. The new residence hall was renovated from the former Regional Development Center building in labor at the southeast corner of West Eighth and Sassafras Streets.

There were still many details to be worked out, including finishing work to be carried out on the first floor as well as laundry and kitchen appliances to be installed.

Supply chain issues slowed the process, Oathout said, for example, that a major electrical panel had arrived days earlier.

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Move-in ready by August 19

Despite the work that remains to be done, Oathout expressed confidence in the schedule.

“It’s only July 20 and we have a month to do it,” he said. “We are going to do it.”

The building, which has been vacant for a few years, was the sole asset of the RCWE Holding Co. The Regional Center for Workforce Excellence ran state-funded job training programs for counties in Erie, Clarion, Crawford, Forest, Venango and Warren until a state audit raised questions about RCWE’s spending on the building.

RCWE went bankrupt in 2017.

Gannon purchased the building from First National Bank, which purchased it at a sheriff’s sale for $69,335, an amount equal to the taxes and fees owed on the property.

Jim Martin can be reached at [email protected]

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