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September 23, 2013

Why Pitt-Johnstown's new Murtha center won't be as large as initially planned

— A public service center honoring the late U.S. Rep. John Murtha on the campus of Pitt-Johnstown is still on track to open, but it will be smaller than originally planned due to a lack of federal funding.

Ken Service, the University of Pittsburgh’s vice chancellor for communications, said The John P. Murtha Center for Public Service now will be located inside an 8,000-square-foot addition to Krebs Hall, which currently houses classrooms and offices.

The initial project was announced in 2010 following Murtha’s death on Feb. 8.

Plans called for the construction of a 25,000- to 30,000-square-foot free standing facility.

Although the center will be scaled down, Service said it still will include a repository with access to Murtha’s library of public papers and memorabilia, multipurpose space for meetings, classrooms and an area for veterans affairs.

“We are still in the early planning stage and wouldn’t be looking at designs until sometime next year,” he said.

The center is projected to open in 2015.

Kelly Urban is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at

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