CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield County Commissioners on Tuesday voted, 2-1, to partner with ABM, an engineering firm, to proceed with renovations at the Clearfield County Jail.
The county previously explored renovation proposals in-depth with two firms – ABM of Pittsburgh and The McClure Co. of Bellefonte – as part of an Act 163 Guaranteed Energy Savings Program.
“As the community is aware, the county has been exploring the subject for some time,” said Commissioner Chairman John Sobel.
“It’s important that we make a decision and move forward before another year goes by. We need to get started on these renovations as soon as possible.”
Commissioner Dave Glass briefly detailed work that needs to be done at the jail. He said the roof is in terrible condition, and there are concerns of letting it go another winter.
Additionally, he said the HVAC system is beyond its “useful life,” the generator doesn’t work and there’s water getting into the facility.
He said Rescue Act funds will cover most – if not all – of the HVAC system renovations because it’ll be considered “COVID mitigation.” Currently, he said the air movement is very poor, and they have plans to improve filtration to really protect the air quality.
Glass favored The McClure Company because it conducted a “very thorough” study on the jail, and has established working relationships with contractors and architects in Clearfield County.
Commissioner Tony Scotto said ABM visited the jail twice, bringing its own structural engineer as well as two independent structural engineers on separate occasions.
Scotto and Sobel said both companies were reputable, but they had to limit project costs. Sobel said The McClure Co. estimated $10-11 million for the work and ABM $7.5-8.8 million.
Sobel said the commissioners already discussed with both companies about utilizing the local workforce. He also hoped that any out-of-town workers would stay in local hotels whenever possible.
The commissioners then voted, 2-1, to partner with ABM to begin the process of developing a Guaranteed Energy Services Agreement for the jail contingent upon final review by the solicitor and commissioners.
Sobel and Scotto voted in favor while Glass cast the only opposing vote. Glass said he didn’t oppose the project, itself, and was glad to see the county move forward.
“We could put the project out to bid between the two companies,” he said, “but the problem is time. We can’t afford the delay and to have the project slip into 2022.”
Glass and Sobel explained that with a guaranteed energy savings agreement, ABM will guarantee a specific savings total over the next 20-year period. And ABM will cover the difference if the guaranteed savings isn’t met.
The commissioners, along with the solicitor, will now work on development and execution of a contract with ABM, with an in-depth project cost analysis to follow in the coming months.
At that point, Glass said, the commissioners will make the final decision as to whether or not to proceed with the jail renovation project.