UGI to build 'state-of-the-art' training center in Bern

Ground expected to be broken this fall

BERN TWP., Pa. - Less than six months after relocating its corporate headquarters to Lancaster County, UGI Utilities is planning to add to the company's presence in Berks County.

UGI announced Wednesday plans to build a training center on 40 acres of land on Stinson Road in Bern Township.

"This new state-of-the-art Training Center will help ensure UGI continues to provide safe and reliable natural gas service across our 45-county Pennsylvania service area," said Hans Bell, UGI's chief operating officer.

The training center will be anchored by a 47,500-square-foot training building, which will include seven classrooms and two lecture rooms. In addition, officials said four labs will accommodate training programs for UGI's departments of construction and maintenance, safety, service, and meter and regulation.

The complex, officials said, will also include a number of facilities and features to offer "hands-on" training experiences and simulate real-life situations for UGI employees. Among them is "Safety Town," an area of the center that will consist of three townhouse-style buildings with full basements, where various types of emergency situations can be simulated.

"The new Training Center represents a significant milestone in UGI's commitment to enhancing our safety culture," Bell said. "In addition, this facility will provide the best possible preparation for our current and future workforce and constitutes an important investment for UGI Utilities as we move forward."

Other features of the complex include training areas for firefighting instruction, pipe corrosion and protection, and backhoe excavation; a 10,500-square-foot building for training on welding, stopping, and capping natural gas lines; and two indoor pits to simulate confined-space welding.

"UGI is setting a very high standard with this project," said Ed Swoyer, president of the Greater Berks Development Fund, which sold the land to UGI. "We will endeavor to emulate their effort on the 60 or so remaining acres we have available."

UGI said it hopes to break ground on the project in the fall and complete the construction in about a year.

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