Storage building approved for the Centre County Safety Center

By Carol Terracina Hartman


BELLEFONTE – Giving the final nod to a state grant-contract, the Centre County Board of Commissioners also approved agreements with two vendors for construction of an equipment storage building at the Centre County Public Safety Training Center.

The $305,000 grant is a program of the Department of Community and Economic Development Initiative. Board Vice-Chair and Commissioner Steven Dershem both acknowledged local legislators for promoting the grant application.

“We have to give a shout out to Sen. Jake Corman (R-34) and our local legislators for putting us over the top,” Dershem said.

A member of the Centre County Public Safety Training Center advisory committee, Higgins said it is the first substantial construction in years at the Training Center, which offers training for firefighters and emergency responders throughout a 12-county region.

Presenting the contracts with PennTerra Engineering, Inc. and a proposal from CMT Laboratories, Inc., Mike Bloom, assistant director, Planning and Community Development Office, said the project goal is two-fold.

“The public safety building is needed for storage,” Bloom said. “And to help them with practicing real-world training. Right now, we can’t do that.”

One feature of the new building is a sprinkler system, said Higgins.

“[This] will allow them to train live in a sprinkler system, so it simulates a real-world situation,” Higgins said.

In July, Commissioners reviewed plans and costs for a two-, three- and four-bay unit, the latter of which approximated $1.2 million, including engineering and design.

Director Mark Keller said at that time the Training Center would quickly outgrow a two- or three-bay unit, just in terms of storage. Presently, much of the gear gets stored outside, including the fire engine.

In August, Commissioners approved the construction contracts for the project: J.C. Orr & Son $541,000 general construction; Joseph Hazel Inc. for plumbing $73,782; Allied Mechanical and Electrical, Inc. for HVAC $41,800; and also electrical construction $69,640.

Soil testing has begun, with hopes of getting the foundation poured and steel in place before the weather turns, Higgins said.

The board’s next regularly scheduled meeting is Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 10 a.m., 420 Holmes St.