A public grand opening of Luzerne County’s new record storage facility in Hanover Township has been scheduled for Friday night, county Manager C. David Pedri announced.
The county’s purchase and renovation of the former U.S. mail property at 85 Young St. totaled $2.75 million, Pedri told council in July. In addition to record storage, the building houses a public space to view records, the county coroner’s office and a morgue.
Annual operating costs for the new, climate-controlled building will be $59,384, compared to the previous $103,104 to lease a Wilkes-Barre building that was deemed insufficient for record storage due to leaks and temperature extremes, Pedri has said.
The open house will run 4:30 to 7 p.m. and include guided tours, record search demonstrations and briefings on the history of county record storage and advantages of the new facility, which also is called the Hanover Township annex.
Light refreshments will be provided. Call 570-825-1862 for more information.
County officials first started discussing the idea of a central, county-owned record storage site around 2001, but the proposal stalled and changed through various administrations.
A state archive expert urged officials to address the issue in June 2010, saying the county’s leased space in the Thomas C. Thomas building on Union Street in Wilkes-Barre was damaging to records.
Council agreed to buy the Hanover Township property in 2015.
In August 2017, as the new facility was still being prepped, a leak at the Thomas building forced the county to remove a total of 1,701 water-damaged boxes of records and thick docket books. Building owner Thomas C. Thomas identified a faulty sprinkler head as the culprit and said the sprinkler system was properly inspected and maintained.
All county records were moved out of the Wilkes-Barre structure by November, but a grand opening was delayed to complete the public viewing area.
A fee on recorded deeds that generates around $7,000 per month will cover utility costs for the new facility, officials have said.
Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.