County accepts $1 million bid for prison sitework
SUNBURY — The Northumberland County Prison project has reached a point of no return.
County commissioners awarded the first of several construction contracts to Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc., of State College, during a special meeting Thursday afternoon.
Hawbaker will complete sitework at a cost of $1,093,000, the lowest of three bids.
Project manager Todd D. Rothermel, of Alvin H. Butz Inc, said the bid was about 2 percent higher than expected but still within the budgeted amount.
Sitework will include changes to the sanitary and storm sewers, moving dirt, erosion and sedimentation control, paving, concrete and sidewalks, he said.
He anticipated work to begin in about 20 to 22 days. A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Friday, April 28 at the site.
Bidding for foundation work will begin next, with Rothermel expecting the process to open by the end of this week. The remaining work will be bid out in mid-May, he said.
Commissioner Sam Schiccatano said he is excited to be moving into the next phase of the project. He said he likes construction and expects to visit the site almost daily once work begins. In the meantime, he said he will continue to work at coordinating programming for the other buildings on the site.
"Maybe by next summer we'll have a full campus," he said.
Schiccatano was the only board member physically present at the meeting. Commissioner Rick Shoch participated in the meeting by phone and Commissioner Kym Best was absent.
The prison calls for renovations and an addition to a building at the former Northwestern Academy, located off Route 901 just east of Route 61 in Coal Township. The estimated price tag for the 278-bed prison is $20 million, and Schiccatano said he expects it operational by June 2018.
A motion to advertise a change to the county's employment or property improvement tax incentive program was also approved at the brief meeting. Don Alexander, county planning and economic development director, said the change will allow businesses expanding in the county to take advantage of a deferred tax payment program in exchange for making investments or hiring additional employees.