The Fayette County Commissioners have selected an architectural firm for the new county prison, which is expected to bring additional cost savings to the project.
During Thursday’s regular meeting, the commissioners unanimously voted to approve R.L. Kimball of Ebensburg for prison architectural and engineering professional services pursuant to a request for quotes.
Last year, the county received the property of the former Army Reserve Center in Uniontown, the planned site for the future county jail, for free, saving the county a couple of millions of dollars if they were to purchase the property.
Out of the seven firms interviewed, only two, R.L. Kimball and Pieper O’Brien Herr Architects of Pittsburgh, were brought back for a second interview.
Fayette County Commissioner Vincent Vicites said Kimball gave a real cost-effective proposal with two different factors.
One factor was refurbishing the two building in front of the former reserve center and demolishing the two rear garages instead of demolishing all those buildings on the property, saving the county $2 million.
The other was Kimball’s head architect only charging the county a 5-percent architectural fee, which is lower than the standard 6 percent to 7 percent fee.
Vicites continued to say the head architect, who has built 70 prisons and has been involved with 150 prison-building project across the country, had been wanting to work on Fayette’s new county prison for years and is showing passion to do so.
“He’s very excited to do this project,” Fayette County Commissioner Dave Lohr said, adding that the Fayette County Prison Board also unanimously selected Kimball when asked for input.
For the commissioner’s August meeting, the commissioners are hoping to have the final contract written up to officially sign on the firm and will then begin to seek out a construction manager for the project.
It’s estimated that the prison project will take nine to 12 months to design and 18 to 24 months to build.
In other business, the commissioners voted 2-1 to award Professional Auto Services a one-year contract to tow buses for FACT.
Fayette County Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink, who voted against the motion, first made a motion to have a contract that allowed Professional Auto Services handle the FACT buses while the current business contracted with FACT, Burnworth’s Garage, handle the large buses.
That motion died for lack of a second as well as the motion made by Vicites to award Professional Auto Service a two-year contract to tow FACT buses.
Those options were made by Fayette County Solicitor Jack Purcell, who reported that he and the FACT director reviewed both proposals for the request for quotes and found that Professional Auto Service’s rates were significantly lower than Burnworth’s Garage.