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Penn College Contributes to City Department Improvements

Pennsylvania College of Technology contributed toward meeting two specific needs for the City of Williamsport this spring − and saved the city more than $15,000 by renovating portions of the Bureau of Police facility in City Hall and providing a laptop computer for the city fire inspector.

Students from the building construction technology and electrical departments of the college’s School of Construction and Design Technologies refinished two rooms used for special operations in the police department at City Hall.

The students, working under faculty members Harry W. Hintz and Joseph M. Younes, demolished interior wall partitions and lockers; built new lockers; installed a fire-resistant suspended ceiling system; modified and enhanced the electrical and lighting systems; constructed a custom shelving system for storage; painted walls, lockers and shelves; and installed a two-tiered, 19-foot weapons-cleaning counter and a bulletproof glass reception window.

Faculty members said the students worked 530 hours on the project and estimated savings to the city of approximately $14,500. Both Younes and Hintz have done this type of practical construction work in the community with their classes in the past. Last year, Hintz and his students constructed a concession stand for the Little League Challenger Division and Younes and his students have, for many years, participated in Habitat for Humanity projects.

Tom Gregory, dean of construction and design technologies, said, “These types of projects give the students valuable experience in actual construction problem-solving and techniques, which can’t be duplicated in a lab environment.”

The college also provided a laptop computer, valued at $1,875, to the Williamsport Bureau of Fire and Codes. The computer will be used by the fire inspector for codes investigations and fire-prevention programs.

J. Elliott Strickland, special assistant to the vice president for student affairs, said the college has a long history of working collaboratively with the codes department, which inspects off-campus properties rented by Penn College students.

“When the properties are inspected and pass the codes’ standards, they are posted on the Penn College Web site to assist students in finding quality, off-campus housing,” Strickland said.

He added that the codes department also has worked closely with the college administration when emergency situations arise or when students are found to be living in unsafe conditions. A member of the codes department serves on the Campus and Community Coalition, a group of college and community members working to limit alcohol and drug use by students.

Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour said these contributions to the city are not part of an agreement that provides for annual contributions of education and training benefits, as well as a police cruiser, to the city.

“The city had additional, specific needs that we were able to respond to this spring,” she said. “I am pleased that we could contribute in a way that benefits our students while also providing a real financial savings to these two city departments, which are so important to all of us who are committed to safety and security in Williamsport.”

Williamsport Mayor Mary B. Wolf added: “The City of Williamsport is fortunate to have an excellent working relationship with Penn College. We greatly appreciate the hard work of the students and staff who have donated their time and talent to the city.”

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