York County moves forward with $5.7M plan to relocate Central Booking to prison

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

York County is moving forward with its plan to move Central Booking, where criminal suspects are processed, to its county prison — despite the costs coming in higher than original estimates.

The Board of Commissioners approved four contracts totaling over $5.7 million for the project at its Wednesday morning meeting. When the move was initially approved by the Prison Board of Inspectors in February 2022, the projected cost was $3.3 million.

Engineer John Klinedinst acknowledged the sharp increase in price Wednesday, explaining that it was due largely to supply chain issues and the volatility of the market.

"None of these are excuses, these are just facts," Klinedinst said. "It may have been low at that time; we've evaluated the estimating process. The study itself did have a note in it to warn everyone about the volatility of bidding and the supply chain, and I think that's actually what happened."

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The contracts awarded for the move are as follows:

  • East Coast Contracting Inc. of New Cumberland will receive $3.44 million for general construction.
  • DM Electric of York will receive $721,000 for electrical construction.
  • Frey Lutz of Lancaster will receive $959,500 for HVAC construction.
  • Jay R. Reynolds of Willow Street, Lancaster County, will receive $646,900 for plumbing construction.

Klinedinst noted that each of the contracts received multiple bids that indicated that the pricing was fairly consistent and close together.

York County Prison in Springettsbury Township Monday, August, 24, 2020. Bill Kalina photo

Commissioner Doug Hoke asked if going out to bid again could help drop the price. Klinedinst said no, especially because the price for the contracts is already out there unless the county redesigned the project.

"If anything, I think it would go up," Klinedinst said.

Klinedinst said the renovation could be completed by December.

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Asked after the meeting, Hoke and his colleagues President Commissioner Julie Wheeler and Commissioner Ron Smith reiterated their support for the project.

One of the major driving forces behind the move to York County Prison in Springettsbury Township from the booking unit's current location at the York County Judicial Center in York City is to reduce the time law enforcement officers have to spend taking prisoners for medical checkups. Sheriff Rich Keuerleber said Tuesday that currently, any prisoner who does not pass a medical check cannot be booked until they are examined at a medical facility.

When Central Booking is moved to York County Prison, the prison medical staff can conduct that medical check and custody of the prisoner can be turned over to the sheriff's department and the prison, allowing officers to go back on the street.

"If there was ever a time to move out, it's now," Keuerleber said Tuesday.

Prison Warden Adam Ogle also praised the project Wednesday.

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The county also officially ended its burn ban at the meeting. The ban had gone into effect April 16 because of concerns about dry and windy conditions that could fuel rapidly spreading fires. It was revoked April 28 due to the recent rainfall. The change does not affect municipal bans, however.

To watch the meeting online, visit the commissioners' YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/@yorkcountypa1749_Commissioners/streams.

— Reach Matt Enright via email at menright@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright.