(WBRE/WYOU) — Governor Tom Wolf announced the approval of new funding through the Industrial Sites Reuse Program (ISRP) to perform an environmental assessment of the former Times Leader Building in the city of Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County.
The city plans to renovate the 47,000-square-foot building for use by the students, faculty, and administration of King’s College.
“It’s always great to see a previously unused space being utilized once again,” said Gov. Wolf “This investment will provide a clean and safe environment for the students and faculty of King’s College.”
The ISRP grant will provide $400,000 for the abatement of Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM), removal and remediation of Universal Hazardous Waste, and further assessment and remediation of a printing press room identified to be impacted with heavy metal contamination. The total project cost is $535,000.
“The city and the college’s commitment to remediating this space will impact both King’s College and the surrounding community,” said Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin. “We commend them for their efforts to bring an old building back to life with a new purpose.”
Last year, the Wolf Administration approved $33,750 in ISRP funding to conduct the initial environmental assessment of the site of the former Times Leader building. Earlier assessment work has determined the presence of asbestos containing materials. The project included an ACM survey, Universal Hazardous Waste analysis, and an analysis of the metal contamination located in the printing press room.
“King’s College, with the restoration of the former Times Leader building, continues its impressive partnership with the city of Wilkes-Barre to create educational and economic opportunities in northeastern Pennsylvania,” said State Senator John Yudichak. “I appreciate the support of Governor Wolf and the emphasis his administration has put into investing in the growth of Luzerne County’s knowledge economy.”
“I am grateful to Gov. Wolf and DCED for their continued support for projects that invest in Wilkes-Barre and our region,” said Representative Eddie Day Pashinski “King’s College provides excellent higher education to our local students. The repurposing of the Times Leader is a perfect addition to their higher education footprint.”
“I am proud to support the former Times Leader Building Industrial Sites Reuse Project, which will facilitate a future economic development project,” said Mayor George of Wilkes-Barre. “The building provides a strategic and cost-effective location for King’s College to continue its expansion of Allied Heath and Engineering Programs within the existing footprint of the city of Wilkes-Barre.”
The ISRP provides loans and grants for environmental assessments and remediation carried out by eligible applicants who did not cause or contribute to the contamination. The program is designed to foster the cleanup of environmental contamination at industrial sites, thereby bringing blighted land into productive reuse.
“Renovating a building like this requires important environmental cleanup efforts to ensure that the space is safe,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “This funding will allow the city to properly clean up the building to achieve its plan of revitalizing the site for an important purpose – educating students.”