The York County Administrative Center -- the old courthouse -- reopened Monday afternoon after a suspicious-looking metal box forced officials to evacuate the building and move county employees to the Judicial Center, a county spokesman said.
The administrative center, located at 28 E. Market St. in York City, was evacuated about 10:30 a.m. so a state police bomb squad could examine the box, found at the rear of the building, according to county spokesman Carl Lindquist.
At 1:15 p.m., county employees were allowed back inside the administrative center, he said. The bomb squad determined the box was not a "safety threat," Lindquist said.
According to state police, the box was heavily constructed and welded, and appeared homemade. It was about 12-by-10-by-6 inches, and there was nothing inside it, police said.
Police said it was found near a Dumpster. It's unclear whether someone simply dumped it there.
The administrative center houses the offices of the county commissioners, assessment, elections, human resources, treasurer, tax-claims and controller, as well as the recorder of deeds and planning commission offices.
The roughly 170 people who work there were temporarily moved to the Judicial Center, Lindquist said.
Interim York County Court Administrator Thomas Roberts said there are regular "continuity" drills so county employees will know what to do in the event of emergencies and evacuations.
"Continuity plans are in place so government business can continue," he said.
The county's continuity plan ensures county workers who are displaced from their offices can do their work from the Judicial Center, he said. Phone lines even get forwarded, officials said.
"We just had a drill ... approximately 30 days ago," Roberts said. "They try to make them as real as possible."
Monday's evacuation "went off without a hitch," Roberts said. "Everybody reported to their (designated) spots."
Lindquist said "suspicious package" incidents aren't new to county workers.
"We've simulated this exact scenario before (during drills)," Lindquist said.
During Monday's evacuation, "key players" in county government set up a command center in the Judicial Center, according to Roberts, so decisions could be made quickly from one central location.
The area around the first block of East Market Street was closed to traffic, which was detoured by sheriff's deputies.
The bomb squad used a remote-controlled robot with video capability to examine the box.
-- Reach Elizabeth Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org, 505-5429 or twitter.com/ydcrimetime.