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Southwest Missouri News-Joplin

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by Carol Harris, Branson area, and Mary Engler-Guccione, Joplin area

Joplin shoppers will soon be able to take advantage of an escalator at Joplin's Northpark Mall.

Crews recently brought in components of an escalator to be installed at the J.C. Penney store at Northpark Mall. When completed, the escalator will allow the store to take advantage of a second floor. The work is part of an expansion and renovation project expected to cost more than $4 million.

Completion of the escalator is expected by March 20, company officials said. Work on the project began last October. Floor space will be doubled, and plans call for the store's home and men's departments to be moved upstairs.

Renovations are planned for the lower level after the upstairs work is finished, and a grand opening for the larger, updated store is tentatively scheduled for July 31.

Much of the construction work is being done at night, which allows the store to remain open during the entire project.

The store included a second level when it was built as part of the original Northpark Mall more than 25 years ago, but that space has been used primarily for offices and storage.

The escalator will be the first for the mall and for any Joplin retail operation.

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