GETTYSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — For decades, they’ve been a regular sight on the roads in and around Gettysburg-the blue and gray double-decker buses of Gettysburg Battlefield Bus Tours. Ever since the buses started running in the 1950s, the tours have begun and ended at the Gettysburg Tour Center on the 700 block of Baltimore street.
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In the 1960s the company erected a building at the center, which has served the company for over 60 years. The building is a manufactured cabin structure, which has seen several additions over the years. But the building has problems; it doesn’t have a foundation, it’s not energy efficient, it’s not as accessible to handicapped visitors as they’d like, and even with the additions, there’s still not enough space.
Felty Investments, the owner of the Gettysburg Tour Center, just announced they’re replacing the building. Plans call for razing the existing structure and erecting a new, two-story building in the same spot.
The change has been in the works for a long time. They planned to upgrade the location in
the early 2000s, but put those plans on hold while the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center was erected that same decade. The COVID-19 pandemic triggered more delays; owner Max Felty bluntly calls 2020 “Our worst year ever.” But the Gettysburg area has seen strong growth-or regrowth-in tourism since then, and Mr. Felty says he feels confident about the future.
Design work for the new building was done by Buchart Horn Architects, and ECI Construction of Dillsburg will build the new center. The tentative start date is Mid-February and should be completed by the start of the 2024 tourist season.
During construction, the Gettysburg Tour Center will operate its retail and ticketing from a temporary space located directly across the street from the building site, and the buses will continue to roll from both the temporary location and the parking lot across the street.