Contract Awarded for New State Prison in Benner Township, Centre County

Jun 11, 2010, 13:44 ET from Pennsylvania Department of General Services

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The state departments of General Services and Corrections today announced that Hensel Phelps Construction Co. of Chantilly, Virginia, has been awarded a $174 million contract to build the State Correctional Institution at Benner.

The 2,000-bed, medium security prison will be built on state-owned land near the existing SCI Rockview in Centre County. The project is expected to create 600 to 800 construction jobs during its two-year completion process.

"Building this facility will help to address an overcrowded prison system that is literally bursting at the seams," said Corrections Secretary Jeffrey A. Beard.

The Department of General Services, which is responsible for managing the construction of the design-build project, expects off-site work to begin immediately. The design-build initiative will allow the project to be built faster, since design work will be ongoing as the prison is being built.

"We are protecting the best interests of the taxpayers by building this prison in a cost-effective manner," said DGS Secretary James P. Creedon. "It will be an energy-saving facility, providing great value and efficiency, which will yield long-term savings to state taxpayers."

On-site work on the project is slated to begin this summer and is expected to be completed in the fall of 2012. The new prison is expected to employ approximately 600 people. SCI Rockview currently employs approximately 700 people.

The new prison will be certified according to energy-saving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ratings.

SCI Benner is part of a broader state construction initiative that will add nearly 9,000 beds to the state's prison system. Other prison projects include two new 2,000-bed prisons in Skippack Township, Montgomery County, on the grounds of the existing SCI Graterford, and a new 2,000-bed prison in German Township, Fayette County.

Proposals for the Montgomery County prisons continue to be developed. Plans to build a new prison in Fayette County are also moving forward, as DGS is working to finalize agreements from property owners in German Township.

Additional housing units are also already under contract this year. They include a 230-bed housing unit at the SCI Cambridge Springs in Crawford County, a 178-bed housing unit at SCI Forest County, a 230-bed housing unit at SCI Pine Grove in Indiana County, and a 230-bed housing unit at SCI Coal Township in Northumberland County.

The General Assembly authorized construction funds for the projects -- expected to equal $862 million -- through the state's capital budget.

Media contacts:

Edward Myslewicz or Beverly Hudson, DGS; 717-787-3197

Susan McNaughton or Susan Bensinger, DOC; 717-975-4862

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of General Services