Harrisburg’s Forum Building: A ninety-year-old structure gets a $90M makeover

Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Forum Building in Harrisburg turns ninety years old this year. It was dedicated on Sept. 16, 1931.

For years it housed the State’s Department of Education. Thousands of events have taken place in the Forum Auditorium.

But when you have a ninety-year-old building, you have to deal with ninety-year-old infrastructure. Cramped offices. old wiring, old plumbing, old heating systems, and air conditioning — well, that was something of an afterthought.

Most of the building sat empty for the last twenty years.

But now it’s getting a massive makeover.

Crews are gutting the three top floors, to construct 139,000 square feet of new, more open office space. The building will get a new heating and air conditioning system, plumbing, wiring, fire alarms and fire suppression systems, and especially computer and data networking.

Outside the building, grimy surfaces are being cleaned and repaired.

South Drive, the street that runs by the front entrance, will be widened to create more efficiency, so they can squeeze in more cars by parking them diagonally.

Three of the main contractors are local firms: Midline Mechanical of Ephrata is doing the HVAC, Jay R. Reynolds from Willow Street is handling the plumbing, and the General Construction contract went to Wohlsen Construction of Lancaster.

The entire project is expected to cost about $90 million. If things stay on schedule, the project should be completed, and the building open for business, in January 2023.

It will house about eight hundred employees from the Department of Education, the State Library, and the State Law Library. And in the Auditorium, the show will go on.

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