UGI Utilities, Inc. celebrated the official opening of its new Learning Center during a ribbon cutting ceremony today in Bern Township.
“The new state-of-the-art Learning Center represents a significant milestone in UGI’s commitment to enhancing our safety culture,” Hans Bell, UGI President, 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.”
The facility is located on a 40-acre tract on Stinson Road, bordering Route 222.
The $37 million complex is anchored by a 47,500 square foot Learning Center Building. The Learning Center Building includes six classrooms and two lecture rooms that can open into a single large space that can seat approximately 135 people in a classroom-style setting.
Four labs within the building will accommodate specific UGI departments, including Construction and Maintenance, Safety, Service, and Meter and Regulation training programs.
In addition, a separate 10,500 square foot Welding Shop will provide instruction on welding, stopping, and capping natural gas lines. Two indoor pits are available to simulate confined-space welding.
Another significant feature of the complex is “Responder’s Ridge,” designed to provide employees with “hands-on” learning experiences that simulate real-life situations.
For example, a series of townhouse-style buildings with full basements will be used as simulators to allow participants to experience various types of emergency situations and apply appropriate remediation techniques. A separate structure will allow participants to review a video of their performance.
The complex also includes outdoor instruction areas for firefighting, pipe corrosion and protection, and backhoe excavation.
In addition to UGI employees, the facility will be utilized by UGI field contractors.
Gladys Brown Dutrieulle, Chair of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, offered remarks as well as a number of community leaders. These included Irene Reed, Chair, Bern Township Board of Supervisors; Christian Leinbach, Chair, Berks County Board of Commissioners; Barry Jozwiak, Pennsylvania State Representative, 5th Legislative District; and Judy Schwank, Pennsylvania State Senator, 11th Senatorial District.
In addition, comments were provided by Keith Falco from Buchart Horn, the architectural firm that designed the facility and Richard Stoudt, Jr. from High Construction, the general contractor for the project.
Mr. Bell thanked township and county officials for working with UGI to bring the project to fruition.
‘We are also pleased to locate our Learning Center in Berks County,” Mr. Bell said. “UGI has served the Reading and Berks County region for many years and we value the relationships we have built over time.”
UGI Utilities is a natural gas and electric utility with headquarters in Denver, Pennsylvania. UGI serves more than 730,000 customers in 45 Pennsylvania counties and one county in Maryland.