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ABC Keystone starting $5.2M expansion in Rapho Township

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A rendering of the facility expansion
A rendering of the facility expansion - (Photo / Submitted)

Projecting increased demand for its apprenticeship and career development programs, the Keystone Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. ceremonially broke ground Thursday on a $5.2 million expansion of its Rapho Township facility.

ABC is adding 20,000 square feet and renovating 11,000 square feet of existing space in its building in the Rapho Business Park.

“We are essentially tripling our total footprint, most of which is going to dedicated or accessible for educational offerings,” said John “Jack” Zimmer, chapter president and CEO.

The entire project is slated for February 2015 completion, Zimmer said. Nearly 50 members are donating labor and materials to reduce the chapter’s out-of-pocket costs to $3.8 million.

The chapter is projecting that its current enrollment of 230 apprentices in five trades will be more than 400 by 2019, said Dave Sload, director of education. ABC Keystone offers carpentry, electrical, HVAC, sheet metal and plumbing and pipefitting.

The chapter is looking to expand to nine trades, including an off-site heavy equipment operator program. It will split plumbing and pipefitting and add welding and millwright apprentices, Sload said.

“Even though we’re not in the epicenter of production, it will be a statewide effort to meet manpower needs,” Zimmer said, citing anticipated growth in the commonwealth’s natural gas industry. “We think Pennsylvania is on the precipice for big manpower demand.”

ABC Keystone is also known for its career development training, which ranges from safety and blueprint reading to health care construction and management education. The chapter trains about 1,200 students per year, Sload said. Officials expect that area will double by 2019.

The Lancaster County-based chapter has about 625 members in 11 counties. It has operated on Shellyland Road since 1978, having last expanded in 1992.

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