When the COVID-19 shutdown hit, it closed area schools. Students from Jeff Tech were going to remodel an office on the first floor of the Reynoldsville Borough Building to move the police department downstairs, but that couldn’t happen because of the shut down. That’s when Glass Erectors of Reynoldsville went to work.
John Burkett, who is one of four owners of Glass Erectors and a Reynoldsville Borough Council member, applied for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The loan is designed to help companies keep their employees on the payroll during the COVID-19 crises. That request was approved, but there wasn’t a lot of work at the time. That’s when Burkett got an idea.
Using his workers at no cost to the borough (thanks to the PPP loan) and consulting with Mayor Peach Caltagarone and Police Chief Troy Bell, Glass Erectors began the police department project. Planning ahead, Burkett had already obtained an exemption from the state to be able to start the project. The only cost to the borough was for materials, which was the original idea when the Jeff Tech students were going to do the work.
A lot of remodeling has been completed, but regular work is beginning to pick up for the company, so Burkett says it will take about two more weeks at least for this project to be finished and ready for the department to move in.
The regular office will be on the first floor. Files and evidence will remain upstairs. Cameras will be added to the area, including the holding cell across from the new office so it can be used once again.
Burkett stressed, however, this is not the final solution. He even referred to it as “phase one.”
“This is temporary to get the police station downstairs. Eventually the police station will be back in the ambulance garage,” he said.
The old ambulance garage is located directly behind the borough building. Remodeling that building will take place in the future, so the new temporary office is expected to be used for at least a year.
Once the garage project is completed, the temporary office will become a secure waiting area.