WELLSBORO- The North Campus of Pennsylvania College of Technology in Charleston Township will be sold to a Shell Oil subsidiary, company officials announced.
According to Deb Sawyer, business communications adviser for Shell, the building will serve as Shell's main Tioga County office, with about 100 people moving from Shell's other locations around the county, including rented spaces in the borough and Mansfield.
"The idea is to have leadership at the North Campus. We will keep some field offices like the one on routes 660 and 6, and we are looking for at least one more in Wellsboro as a smaller field office," she said.
Sawyer said the company has been interested in the building for some time, but declined to disclose the purchase price.
"They were in negotiations a while ago and then those stopped and then we started looking at it again this summer," she said.
Shell officials were interested in the building because it is centrally located and provides enough space "so we can get the people we need in one space," she said.
"We had been renting the building for training space so our people are already familiar with it," she added.
Sawyer said the company anticipates closing on the property by the end of the year. "Then there will be a short time of renovations, such as fitting it for office space," she said.
There are no immediate plans to change the outside of the building or take it down, and nothing will be done to the exterior, she added.
"We are considering long-term options that may include even taking down the building and putting up a new structure but that will be way down the road," she said.
The larger spaces inside will be used for cubicles for employees who do drilling, "and then we also have a projects department," Sawyer said.
"We have many who operate from the office and many are out in the field and team leaders and administrative staff," she added.
Among the training Shell provides at the building is safety training.
"New employees and contractors have to go through pretty extensive safety training, including first aid, medic, defensive driving, and production has its own safety meetings every other Thursday so we rented it consistently for that," she said.
Sawyer said her understanding is college staff will start moving out on Dec. 17.
"We are hoping to start renovations by January and then be in there fairly quickly," she added.
Shannon M. Munro, executive director of workforce development and continuing education at Penn College, said the North Campus property at Route 6 is 35.2 acres, too big for the college's needs.
"The college has a continuing need to ensure that we are right-sizing our operations, and the new location is more in line with current training needs," Monro said.
The last class at the location on Route 6 will be held Dec. 19, she said.
"Office furniture and equipment is being moved now to the new location with a start date for new classes to begin after Jan. 1," Monro said.
Penn College is renting 1,996 square feet of space at the high school, or three classrooms, and an additional 210 square feet of office space at the district administrative building, according to Monro.
"The college will have access to a classroom for additional offerings, as needed, in the administrative building. The Route 6 facility has six classrooms, a nursing lab and one computer lab," she added.
Four existing full-time staff positions and one part-time staff position will not be impacted as a result of the move.
"Penn College hires additional instructors as needed for course offerings," Monro said.
Student enrollment also will not be impacted by the move, Monro added, as all non-credit courses will continue.
"The medical assistant and practical nursing programs will be held at the new high school building and additional noncredit classes will be held at the district's Administrative Building at 227 Nichols St.," she said.
"Currently, we offer noncredit medical assistant and practical nursing classes at the North Campus. The new location also will house noncredit and clock-hour training programs and will build on the long history of hands-on programs designed to address training needs in the health-care and natural gas fields, as well as other offerings such as leadership training, business development, soft skills, pre-employment, computer and personal enrichment classes," she said.
According to Monro, Penn College has not offered credit programming at the North Campus since May 2001.
Classes will continue at the high school indefinitely, Monro added.
"There is no plan to discontinue classes in Wellsboro and no limitations on class size as a result of the move to the new location. We do limit class size in some cases to accommodate student learning and to ensure that the instructor has the ability to interact one-on-one with each student," she said.