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Gateway Corners dormitory safe for students

DEP says tests show air quality is OK. Final report from Dept. of Health is due.

Dorm room at Gateway Corners on the campus of King’s College.

CLARK VAN ORDEN/THE TIMES LEADER

WILKES-BARRE – The developers and King’s College say the new Gateway Corners dormitory building is safe for occupancy.

Mark Carmon, spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said a review of test results shows there is no threat to students, but the state agency is waiting for a final report from the Department of Health.

College representatives and the developer offered a look inside the $20 million building Friday.

Dave Yeager, president of the Radnor Property Group, Dave Selingo, chairman of the board of Kinship Square, and Lisa Marie McCauley, King’s College vice president for business affairs, walked through the building and assured that recent testing on the air quality in the building showed no reason for concern.

The building sits on the site of the former Mary MacIntosh Dry Cleaning building and underground storage tanks of petroleum products and dry cleaning fluids were removed before construction. DEP raised concerns about possible vapor intrusion into the building and ordered testing be done. Four holes were drilled into the concrete slab foundation last week and soil samples were taken for testing.

“We have seen the test results and there is no cause for concern; the building is completely safe,” Selingo said.

Carmon said DEP has reviewed the results and concurs with Selingo’s opinion. He said final approval will come after the health department completes its review.

“We feel the building is safe,” Carmon said. “The sample results are fine from the DEP perspective.”

The 165 students – mostly seniors – have moved into the building that will also house a 140-client daycare center and a college-operated restaurant on the first floor of the four-story building.

Chris Ward, a senior communications major from Hazleton, lived off-campus last year. He decided to live in the dorm with four of his buddies. They occupy a five-person apartment on the third floor. There are two bathrooms and large closets at each end of the room. A common area has a full kitchen and large living area with a television.

“We really have a lot of space here,” Ward said. “This provides a real bonding opportunity with people living around you. It’s very communal; it embodies the spirit of the college – a feeling of community and family.”

McCauley said King’s has around 2,100 students enrolled; 1,032 of them live on campus in apartments and/or dormitories. To enter the student area you need a card that also works the elevator. Security is a major concern, McCauley said.

The restaurant will serve students and be open to the public. McCauley said it should open by the end of September. She said hours will be Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday from 6 a.m. to midnight; Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 6 a.m. to 2 a.m.

The day care center is owned by King’s and operated by Hildebrandt Learning Centers. Bill Grant, chief executive officer of HLC, said the company manages more than 40 early learning centers for colleges, employers and state and federal facilities.

Grant said the center is a secure facility with an on-site outdoor play space for the children enrolled. The center operates from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. The center will be closed on all major holidays. Grant said about 50 children are enrolled and spots are filling fast.

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