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The first automated mail distribution center in the Baltimore area will open in Severna Park next fall.

The $3.2 million center shouldbe able to process 30,000 to 40,000 pieces of mail per hour using machines that can automatically read and sort all type-written addresses, says Irene Lericos, a Postal Service spokeswoman.

Dubbed the Severna Park Delivery Distribution Center, the new facility will sort incoming mail from seven local offices, including Severna Park, Arnold, Millersville, Glen Burnie, Pasadena, Linthicum andHanover.

Construction for the center has been contracted to Charles J. Franks Inc., a Hunt Valley company.

The new building, expected to be completed in October, will be located on the south side of Magothy Bridge Road, east of the Earleigh Heights Fire Department off Ritchie Highway, says Carol Norris, a spokeswoman for the construction company.

The additional space offered by the planned 57,000 square-foot building will provide room for new equipment, Lericos says. The new equipment includes optical character readers and bar-code sorting machines, part of the Postal Service's plan to automate all mail sorting by 1995.

For customers in the Severna Park area, the new center should

mean faster service on items leaving the area, Lericos says. The new center will include no walk-up windows or post officeboxes.

The change in service is not expected to mean new jobs or layoffs, although three-fourths of the employees at the existing Severna Park post office likely will be transferred to the new center, says Carl Ostiguy, Severna Park postmaster.

A few other employees from the other postal centers involved also may be transferred.

The existing Severna Park post office will continue to operate post office boxes and mail windows.

Construction of the distribution center is expected to begin within a month, Norris says.

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