The ink barely was dry on the property sales contract for the former Meadville Junior High School on Thursday when Erie developer Tom Kennedy announced he had the first commercial tenant for the historic building on Diamond Park.

The state Department of Health will move its Crawford County health services office to Parkside Commons this fall. The state will lease 3,000 square feet of space for 10 years, said Kennedy, owner of the Erie-based Professional Development Associates.

Spokesman Richard McGarvey confirmed a 10-year lease had been signed with Kennedy at $17 a square foot. The lease was the lowest bid received, McGarvey said.

The state had been leasing only 1,000 square feet of space at $13.40 per square foot at the Downtown Mall for its Crawford County health office, said McGarvey. That lease expired in January 2004, but the state had been operating under a series of extensions — the latest of which expires this September.

The health center will move this fall once renovations at Parkside Commons are complete, McGarvey said.

“This will put us on par with our other facilities (in terms of size),” he said.

The Crawford County office doesn’t do medical care, but offers public health services such as immunizations, screenings for HIV and tuberculosis, disease investigation and basic health education, McGarvey said. The county office has a staff of three.

The state health services offices will be on the first floor on the east side of the building in an area that used to be part of a gym. “It’s a perfect fit,” Kennedy said.



Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com. Mary Spicer also contributed to this report.

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