The American Cancer Society office in New Castle is relocating and expanding to serve a four-county area. Services and programs for Beaver, Butler, Lawrence and Mercer counties will be coordinated from the new office in Neshannock Township, according to Mike Neal, vice president of the western Pennsylvania region. The new office, at 3208 Wilmington Road, opens Sept. 22. It replaces the office that had been in the Temple Building downtown for five years. A branch on the Shenango Valley Freeway in Hermitage also will close to merge with the New Castle office. Neal said the new administrative hub will combine the secretarial staffs of both branches so no jobs will be lost. Five employees from New Castle and three from Hermitage will be at the new location. The society was looking for a neutral location, Neal said, and the property, formerly a doctor's office, provides just that. "The people in New Castle will go about 15 minutes north and the people in Mercer will travel about that far south." Beaver and Butler counties have been without offices with regular operating hours. "If we can consolidate the business side of what we do and reduce duplication," Neal said "we can put more staff there and have more resources to go into our mission." Noting the cost of rents, utilities and Internet services, he said "there is a lot to gain by merging." Neal said the new office has more square footage and offers a better layout for the staff and functions. He said there will be more room for materials and space for fund-raisers and meetings. The closing of the Hermitage office is not expected to hinder services to Mercer County residents, said community income development director Bruce Bauman. "Certainly it is open to the public, and if the public walks in, that's great," Bauman said, "but it's more of a staff-intensive office. "While our staff is located there, our service is located through the community, and our staff will be in those communities." Neal said residents worried about long-distance charges may call the toll-free regional number, (888) 227-5445, and be put through to their local office.

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