Robinson municipal building enjoying $65,000 makeover

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After 22 years, the Robinson municipal building on Church Hill Road is getting a facelift.

A crew from public works is finishing a $65,000 project to spruce up the lobbies, hallways and offices with new paint, carpeting and furniture.

"We moved in here in 1991, and nothing had been done since," manager Aaron Bibro said during a tour last week.

Since December, three of the 15 public works employees have performed most of the renovations when they weren't out salting roads or plowing snow.

On Friday, Ray Gastner and Walt Barefoot were preparing to install new flooring in the kitchen that serves as a break room.

Mr. Gastner said working in the municipal building has been a nice change of pace.

"We take pride in everything we do whether it's here in the building or on the roads or in the parks," he said.

Mr. Barefoot said he has years of experience remodeling his own home.

"When you don't have any money, you learn to do it yourself," he said.

Eric Onoffrey also is part of the in-house renovation crew.

When Carol Merks became a township secretary 25 years ago, the municipal offices were located on Leona Drive, adjacent to Ewings Mill Road, where the public works garage is located now.

In April 1991 the township offices moved to 1000 Church Hill Road, the former Beecham Products headquarters.

Ms. Merks said the renovations have improved the cleanliness, efficiency and ambience of the building.

"It makes it nicer to come to work," she said.

Secretaries got replacement workstations, which look new but are refurbished and cost half the price, Mr. Bibro said. The stations are gray with burgundy accents.

Mr. Bibro acknowledged that the women in the office ultimately chose colors for the building improvements.

"Unless you don't like it, it's probably me," he added with a laugh.

Office employees said they've dealt fine with the minor inconveniences of the renovation project, such as filing cabinets that were moved temporarily.

"I don't know how we found everything," planning director Rich Urbano said.

"But they did a beautiful job."

Mr. Bibro said the total project cost of $65,000 included materials, furniture and a $35,000 contract with R.L. Seibel Carpet Services Inc. of Crafton to install 1,000 square yards of carpeting in most offices, corridors and common areas.

The work did not extend into the library or police department.

However, the police foyer was improved, and the larger lobby that patrons cross to enter the library has been refurbished and could get a TV to display Robinson's community cable channel, Mr. Bibro said.

Historical society photos that were removed from corridor walls during painting will be reframed and rehung, he said.

Mr. Bibro said he initiated the renovation project, and the commissioners budgeted it, after feedback from residents made it clear that it was time to update and improve the building's interior.

Mr. Bibro -- whose last day as manager is March 22 because his family is moving to the Philadelphia area -- said he was glad to oversee the bulk of the renovation before his departure.

"It's always good to leave things better than you receive them," he said.


Andrea Iglar, freelance writer:


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