An independent news publication of
United Way of Lancaster County


County chooses industry giant CGL as owner’s rep for prison project

An aerial view of the land acquired by Lancaster County for a new prison. (Source: Lancaster County)

The Lancaster County commissioners on Wednesday authorized hiring an owner’s representative to help build the new county prison and a commissary contract for the existing one.

Following the recommendation presented Tuesday by the county’s selection committee, the commissioners voted unanimously to award a $2.56 million contract to CGL, the largest criminal justice consulting firm in the nation — indeed, in the world.

The contract runs from this month through the end of June 2024 and encompasses all phases up through design. It does not include construction management, but the county has the option to add that as a contract extension, subject to terms it and CGL agree upon at the time.

The selection committee recommended CGL over a local firm, Lititz-based Fidevia, whose proposal had a price tag of $225,450. On Tuesday, committee members said they’d been impressed by CGL’s breadth and depth of experience in corrections and the thoroughness of its proposal.

Purchasing Director Linda Schreiner expanded on those comments Wednesday. Among other things, Fidevia’s proposal involved outsourcing functions, such as needs assessment, that CGL had included, she said. CGL’s price reflected its broader scope of its proposal and the man-hours that would be involved, she said.

The three commissioners agreed that while they want to hire locally whenever possible, that can’t be the sole factor.

If it were a smaller project, he might feel differently, Commissioner Ray D’Agostino said, but the prison will be the largest and most complex construction project in county history, with a projected useful life of 50 to 100 years.

“We get one chance at this,” he said.

Commissioner Josh Parsons said it’s hard for him not to pick a local firm, but the committee did its evaluation thoroughly and he didn’t see any cause to overrule it. Commissioner John Trescot said CGL’s price point is in line with the prison’s projected cost of $150 million or so, and that he expects Lancaster County companies to have extensive opportunities to be involved in its construction.

The signing of CGL kicks off a needs assessment and design process that will stretch into next spring, according to a provisional timeline that D’Agostino released this past March. The county is aiming to finish construction in mid- to late 2026, allowing a move-in toward the end of that year.