County to look at new locations for State College magisterial judges
BELLEFONTE — Centre County commissioners are looking to potentially lease new spaces for the district magistrate offices that are located in State College. They will soon be looking for proposals for the leasing and modification of office space within the boundaries of Magisterial District Court No. 49-1-01 and Magisterial District Court No. 49-3-05.
There are six district magistrates in Centre County with the other four being in Bellefonte, Ferguson Township, Centre Hall and Philipsburg. The county owns the buildings in Centre Hall and Philipsburg, but leases the other spaces.
They hope to find the new space for the State College locations by the end of the year, said county Deputy Administrator Bob Jacobs. He said they are looking for a 30,000-square-foot location that will be able to provide the courtroom space and office space needed for the court and its proceedings.
Magisterial District Court 49-3-05 is located at 121 S. Pugh Street and serves the College Heights, West College Heights, Greentree, Holmes-Foster and Waupelani/Orchard Park neighborhoods and the West College/Beaver Avenue areas in State College. It also serves the western half of the Penn State University campus and the downtown area bordered by Garner Street, College Avenue, South Allen Street and Beaver Avenue.
Steven Lachman is the current magisterial judge for the court.
Magisterial District 49-1-01 is currently located at 131 S. Fraser St. and it serves voter precincts 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 29, 30 and 34 of the Borough of State College and the campus of Penn State University.
Judge Carmine Prestia is serving his last term as judge for the court.
Commissioner Michael Pipe said that it doesn’t seem that the growth in State College is going to slow down anytime soon so looking to make a long term move now makes sense.
“The focus of this is to get the best price for the office space in downtown State College. It is very competitive down there, in terms of seeing a lot of businesses open. So we just want to keep the folks honest. We have had two long-term leases that have been great with the current landlords,” he said. “We just want to see what other options are out there. But we are going to have these MJ offices in perpetuity down there unless State College decreases in population, which probably won’t happen anytime soon. So we know that they are going to be there and by us being able to have a 5-, 10- or 15-year lease, we can negotiate the best cost,” said Pipe.
Fellow commissioner Mark Higgins said that he thinks the timing may be good with the number of new spaces being built in State College.
“I’m hoping our timing is good. There has been a lot of new office space coming into the market in downtown State College, with even more to come with the new building happening on the corner of College and Atherton. So we are hoping there is a lot of interest among the landlords of State College. We are a very steady customer. We have been here for 219 years, so we are probably good for five or ten,” said Higgins.
Jacobs added that a key would be to have a location that is accessible to everyone and convenient as possible.