County Jail Project Moves Forward Following ‘Value Engineering’ to Stay Within Budget

plans2BROOKVILLE, Pa. (EYT) – The Jefferson County Jail renovation and expansion project is moving forward, with four bids awarded for work on the project, which has been “value engineered” so that it will fit within its original budget.

Jefferson County Commissioners Paul Corbin, James McIntyre, and Jeffrey Pisarcik approved all four contracts during the board’s August 25 meeting.

Bill Setree, county director of community development, said each of the contracts has been reduced through “value engineering,” made necessary after the lowest bids received came in higher than budgeted.

“The project has been reduced in cost from $8,450,000 to $7,462,000 through value engineering, which falls right within the budget we set up for the project in the beginning,” Setree said.

The general construction contract was awarded to Arcon Contracting, Inc. of New Kensington at an original cost of $4,783,600. However, changing plans through value engineering reduces that amount by $550,800 to a new total of $4,232,800.

The contract for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) work was awarded to Hranec Sheet Metal of Uniontown. The original cost was $866,400, but this was reduced by $51,200 to $815,200.

Plumbing work will be performed by Enders Plumbing and Heating of Kittanning with an original price tag of $1,048,000. Removing some options reduced it by $23,100, and further value engineering choices eliminated another $185,700, leaving the final price at $862,300.

The electrical work will go to Cox & Kanyuck Electric of Meadville at an original price of $1,752,000. Eliminating options reduced this $11,000, and with another $200,300 savings due to value engineering, the work will now set the county back $1,551,700.

It is expected to take three weeks for contractors to obtain their proper bonding and complete other paperwork, but Setree said the project timeline will have little or no delay.

“We may be set back by one or two weeks and that should be it,” Setree said.

A Necessary Move

Corbin said the renovation and expansion of the Jefferson County Jail is a necessary move for the county and said it may save money in the long term due to the aging modular unit which currently houses some inmates.

“We need to keep in mind we were facing a dilemma with the modular unit, which is nearing the end of its useful life. The cost for us to bring that unit up to par for use would have been high. Now that we’ll have a new jail we’ll be taking that out and it is a move toward progress,” Corbin said.

Specifications

The new jail will be able to hold about 174 inmates, Setree said, down from the 243 a recent study said the county may need in ten years, but still more than the 134 available at the current jail, which at present holds about 110 inmates.

Pisarcik said the renovations and expansions will technically add 40 beds.

“But since we’re eliminating 50 beds in the modular unit and replacing them, which we’d have to do anyway, it’s effectively adding 90 beds,” Pisarcik said.

McIntyre said he is not concerned with the study’s recommendation to include 243 beds for increased need in ten years, as those numbers aren’t precise.

“I’m personally comfortable with paring it down because we may have fewer inmates incarcerated than we expect. There are programs in discussion for mental health patients who should really be anywhere but in jail that could reduce that. I don’t know how it will be treated in the future but I know there are discussions being held now,” McIntyre said.

Setree said there will be room to expand the jail further in the future.

“All you need to do is construct two walls for the two stories, which isn’t nearly the undertaking of this project now,” Setree said.

A few other changes will make the jail more efficient as well. The visitor’s area will be made larger in the project, increasing by about 50 percent. Additionally, a “drive-in” sally port door will be added at the request of Jefferson County Sheriff Carl Gotwald.


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