On April 6, state police Maj. Maynard Gray presented a slide show at a community-organized public hearing in Philipsburg that detailed the timeline of the consolidation decision, but the presentation did not provide the specific budget numbers.
Gray said at the hearing that the decision was made by the state police in early February in an effort to be “fiscally responsible.”
The process started on Jan. 29, 2015, when the Department of General Services issued a Solicitation for Proposal asking for a 15,000-square-foot facility to be built within a two mile radius of the Interstate 99 and state Route 150 interchange. When the commonwealth solicits a new building, the developer is the owner and rents the facility to the state.
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Hudson Companies, of Hermitage, was awarded the contract, and state police said that the new facility will cost the state about $340,000 per year and will be located in the Benner Commerce Park near the Centre County Correctional Facility. When the contract was awarded, the plan was to move the Rockview barracks, located at 745 S. Eagle Valley Road, to the new location and the facility would house troopers as well as administrative and support personnel, according to the state police.
The state police and DGS have not confirmed the date that the contract was awarded to Hudson. The solicitation process requires multiple bids, which state police confirmed there were.
The DGS has not responded to requests for the names of the bidders, other than Hudson, or copies of the bids submitted.
The consolidation plan that the state police confirmed at the public hearing will merge the Philipsburg and Rockview barracks into the new facility. The Rockview barracks will be decommissioned, and the Philipsburg barracks will be repurposed and used for administrative and support personnel.
The lease of the Philipsburg barracks will continue to cost the state about $79,000 per year. Combined with the cost of the new barracks, the state will pay about $420,000 per year for the two facilities.
As part of the process, DGS issued two solicitations for a new 8,235-square-foot Philipsburg barracks to be built within a two mile radius of the existing barracks. The first SFP was issued on March 7, 2016, and an identical SFP was issued on Sept. 30.
There were multiple bids, but there were no suitable responses, according to the state police. The DGS has not responded to requests for the names of the bidders and their bids.
Ryan Tarkowski, communications director for the state police, said in an email that the bids for a new 8,235-square-foot Philipsburg barracks ranged from $24.25 per square foot to $38.11 per square foot, which ranges from about $199,500 to $313,500 per year.
The plan to lease the new Benner Township barracks from Hudson and decommission the Rockview barracks was initiated prior to the publishing of the two SFPs asking for a new Philipsburg barracks, according to the state police.
If the state accepted the highest bid for a new Philipsburg barracks — about $313,500 per year — and combined it with the cost of the new barracks in Benner Township — about $340,000 per year — the state would pay just more than $650,000 per year for two new facilities. The total is about $230,000 higher than the consolidation plan the state police has decided on.
If the state accepted the lowest bid, the total for two new barracks would be about $540,000, which is about $120,000 higher than the chosen consolidation plan.
Hudson’s bid of about $340,000 for the new barracks is about $22 per square foot, but at just more than 15,000 square feet, the new building is almost double the size of the new Philipsburg barracks requested in the 2016 SFPs.
Hudson was not involved in the bidding process for the new Philipsburg barracks, according to state police.