Penn Highlands president: Culinary project progressing

Feb. 22—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — As spring approaches, Pennsylvania Highlands Community College's culinary space in downtown Johnstown is right on schedule, school President Steve Nunez said on Tuesday.

He provided an update to the board of trustees during Tuesday's meeting.

"The build-out is occurring currently," Nunez said.

Penn Highlands has closed the former office location it had occupied at the corner of Main Street and Gazebo Place last year and begun remodeling a space next door.

This new location will serve as the college's headquarters for its culinary partnership with Greater Johnstown School District.

Together, the two entities will train students at the fully functioning restaurant facility.

Greater Johnstown students in the district's vocational program can follow the Penn Highlands pathway to learn additional preparatory abilities, plating and similar skills.

During that time, they'll also collect credits, and after graduation can use those credits with a few more semesters at PHCC to earn an associate's degree or continue training for a bachelor's degree.

Nunez said several grants have been secured to pay for the equipment that'll be used in the center and that the curriculum is being developed.

He added that there are pieces of equipment in transit at this time.

Nunez said the group hopes to move into the space by April or May.

If that's not possible, then at least by June, so the program can get off the ground for the next school year.

"I think we're on target for a fall launch," Nunez said.

Officials at both schools expect this training to also lead to internships and possibly jobs at local restaurants for the students.

Adult education courses will be available at the space as well.

The group also approved the domestic water service project for the Richland Township campus.

This work will cost roughly $72,000 and was awarded to Mervac Plumbing & Heating Inc..

Nunez said the work was bid out, and Mervac came in lowest.

Trustee Alan Cashaw said this was a needed project.

This work is part of continued updates to the Richland building.

Other projects the group discussed on Tuesday included improving brickwork and renovations of some bathrooms.

Joshua Byers is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 814-532-5054. Follow him on Twitter @Journo_Josh.