Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates Approved for Herff Jones

Over the past year, there were not many topics that sparked as much debate as the Herff Jones building, said Randy Phiel, Adams County commissioner chairman.

Although months away from final completion, Wednesday was a significant step toward finishing the process, Phiel said. The commissioners tentatively approved Crabtree Rohrbaugh & Associates Architect, out of Mechanicsburg, to lead renovations for the new Adams County Human Resources building in Cumberland Township during Wednesday’s commissioners’ meeting.

“Besides their superior design, there’s really a need for communication and coordination between our staff and the architect team,” Phiel said during the meeting. “Crabtree and Rohrbaugh fills that need. At this point, in my opinion, they made the best presentation and I feel most comfortable with them.”

Five architect groups submitted proposals to lead renovations for the 91,000 square foot building, Phiel said. The businesses were shown the building and then interviewed by a group consisting of the three commissioners, Hartzell, County Manager Albert Penska, President Judge Michael George, Head of Court Operations Neil Burkholder and Controller Steve Renner.

That total costs also includes construction oversight, Commissioner Marty Qually said. Construction oversight could include everything from collecting bids for services to handling on-site questions, he said.

Not all companies provide that service, Qually said. For example, another company might have bid at an overall lower cost, but the commissioners would have had to find another group for construction oversight, driving the overall price higher.

“Other groups said they’ll be at the construction site every two weeks,” Qually said. “They said no, they’ll be there every week to provide oversight. That was a different standard.”

Crabtree Rohrbaugh & Associates Architect also showed a real enthusiasm for working on the building, which impressed the commissioners.

“The thing that stood out to us was they’re excited,” Commissioner Marty Qually said. “They’ve worked with governments before, they have the qualifications and the imagination to see how to use the space, but that this wasn’t going to just be a cookie cutter ‘oh we’ve done this before, we’ll just do the exact same thing we did over at this county.’ It was ‘you have a complete building, you have a good building, there will be challenges to accompany the office space.'”

The group will largely be in control of interior design, Phiel said. The goal is for renovations to come in under $8 million, he said. Once the contract is signed, the group will evaluate, plan, finalize the design, collect bids for services and start construction. The hope is that renovations will begin in June, he said.

The group will also be in charge of designing the building to plan for the future, Commissioner Jim Martin said. There’s the possibility the county will reach out to District Judge Mark Beauchat to see if his office would be interested in moving to the building. Currently his office in Highland Township leases for around $45,000 a year, he said. Ultimately, it would be up to the judge if he wants to move, not the county, he said.

“You want a group that will be there each step,” Martin said. “You don’t want to compromise the future because you didn’t plan ahead. They’ll do their due diligence.”

Article by Chris Cappella @ The Evening Sun