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Construction of UGI Utilities, Inc.’s Innovative New Training Facility Underway

Construction on UGI Utilities, Inc.’s new training complex in Berks County, Pennsylvania is underway. The state-of-the-art facility, designed by Buchart Horn Architects of Lancaster and York, Pennsylvania, will provide hands-on training and simulation spaces to UGI field personnel. The complex, situated on 40 acres on Stinson Drive in Bern Township, will consist of three buildings, a parking area, and exterior training yards. The buildings will house training areas focused on various real-world natural gas utility scenarios and best practices.

The Training Building, a 48,000-square-foot single-story building, pays homage to UGI’s corporate history, as well as current and past training, with displays in the main lobby. The building also features offices, conference rooms, a cafeteria, and outdoor patio area, as well as lecture rooms, classrooms, and lab areas for employee training in construction, maintenance, safety and metering, and regulation.

The 10,500-square-foot Welding Building will house hands-on welding training areas, a materials testing lab, conference room, offices, and a break room. Three indoor pits will simulate confined-space welding in the field, with four additional welding stations dedicated to welding, splicing, and capping gas lines.

In the main training area known as Safety Town, trainees will learn how to respond to various real-world leak scenarios in and around three simulation townhouse buildings. These two-story structures with full basements are designed to look and feel like real residential homes, but are equipped with numerous advanced systems to ensure all leaks are controlled properly and safely. Instructors and trainees will meet in the Safety Town office building to discuss and analyze simulations, and review videos of how they performed addressing the leak scenarios.

Three yard areas will provide training spaces for fighting fires, practicing digging with a back hoe, and dealing with pipe corrosion. A one-story metal building will house equipment used in Safety Town, vehicle storage, and a locker room with showers for trainees. “It is always exciting when a vision for a project becomes a reality. We were thrilled to collaborate with the UGI team on this innovative facility that will help train and prepare their personnel to work safely and confidently,” shares Brian Funkhouser, PE, President and CEO of Buchart Horn, Inc.