When I talk to my construction friends in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, State College, and other cities across the Commonwealth, I hear about all the activity and major projects in these areas. Don’t get me wrong the Harrisburg, central Pennsylvania region, has had a decent construction market, but we were lacking in the mega projects department. So it’s welcoming news to hear that the federal government is proceeding with its courthouse project in Harrisburg.
The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is proceeding with its plan to build a new U.S. Courthouse at 6th and Reily Streets in Harrisburg. This 243,000 square-foot courthouse is budgeted for around $200 million. In January 2017, the GSA awarded an architectural and engineering services contract to Ennead Architects of New York. Then in March of this year, the GSA awarded Hill International of Philadelphia with a Construction Manager-as-Agent contract (Owner’s Representative).
Around a dozen General Contractors submitted qualifications for the Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) contract. The proposals were ranked and the top ranked/shortlisted firms are proceeding with their GMP submission. It is hopeful that the Contractor will be selected in the next few months. The design team will continue working on the drawings the rest of this year, into next year, and then activity should commence in Spring/Summer of 2018.
This project received the boost needed to proceed earlier this year from the KCA’s recent Leadership Series speaker Congressman Barletta, who announced that this project secured the authorization for $194.4 million to cover the new construction project. At the time of the authorization news, Barletta said: “This has been a long time coming, with various baby steps along the way, but now the Harrisburg courthouse will finally become a reality.”
This Courthouse is needed in Harrisburg because the existing Ronald Reagan Federal Building & Courthouse does not meet the federal government’s security and expansion requirements. Per the GSA’s report, the 1960s Reagan Building was initially built with two courtrooms and later, two more courtrooms were added. Despite the addition, the four courtrooms are not enough to accommodate the increasing caseload of U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg.
This new Courthouse will contain as many as eight courtrooms, including three for district judges, two for senior district judges, two for magistrate judges, and one for bankruptcy judges. Plus this project will include 43 parking spaces.
From this project, it is hopeful that construction activity will pick up around the Courthouse’s proximity. When it comes to the large mega projects, it’s almost like saying to the industry: “if you build it, they will come” and spin-off activity increases to build up the area around these economic drivers.
Later this year the KCA will host an informational session on this project with the GSA and other entities associated with the project. Stay tuned.