Shapiro Administration Breaks Ground on New Pennsylvania State Police Academy in Hershey
December 18, 2023
The new state-of-the-art facility will be the most comprehensive update to the Academy since it opened in 1960 – and will help the Pennsylvania State Police stay well-staffed, well-trained, well-funded, and well-equipped.
Hershey, PA – Today, Governor Josh Shapiro, Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis, Department of General Services (DGS) Secretary Reggie McNeil, and Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Colonel Christopher Paris broke ground on a new Pennsylvania State Police Academy while unveiling design plans for the new world-class law enforcement training facility.
The Shapiro Administration is committed to making sure every Pennsylvanian can be safe and feel safe in their community – and creating safer communities starts with making sure police departments and the Pennsylvania State Police are well-staffed, well-funded, well-trained, and well-equipped.
The modernization project replaces outdated infrastructure with state-of-the-art facilities, representing the most comprehensive update to the Academy since it opened in 1960. Multiple new buildings totaling 366,000 square feet are proposed for the 146-acre site in Hershey, including a five-story Marquee Building with modern classrooms and administrative offices, 300 individual cadet dormitories, a 500-seat auditorium, and a spacious cafeteria.
“The new Pennsylvania State Police Academy will be a state-of-the-art facility second to none in the country that will give cadets hands-on learning opportunities that will better prepare them for service in our communities,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “I firmly believe that every Pennsylvanian deserves to be safe and feel safe in their community. That starts with ensuring police departments are well-staffed, well-trained, well-funded, and well-equipped. Policing is a noble profession, and good people want to come here to this academy and train for a career in public service – and it’s on us to invest in them and give them the resources they need to succeed. I’m proud to join all of you today to celebrate the next chapter for the Pennsylvania State Police.”
A physical education building with two gymnasiums, a training tank, and a weight room will provide space and equipment for self-defense training, water safety courses, and fitness conditioning. Indoor and outdoor tactical villages will host simulations of high-risk incidents such as active shooters, hostage situations, and barricaded subjects.
“I want to thank all of the cadets for your selfless commitment to keeping our communities safe. For the folks that live in rural communities, the state police are their police department – and many Pennsylvanians come from those small towns and townships to attend this academy because they are inspired by the state troopers they meet in their communities,” said Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis. “Policing is truly a noble calling, and our state troopers deserve the best training and the best facilities to ensure they are prepared for what lies ahead. We can never thank them enough for their service to the Commonwealth.”
Additional facilities will include a new headquarters for the Bureau of Emergency and Special Operations, horse stables for the Mounted Unit, a central supply warehouse, and a vehicle garage at the Pennsylvania State Police Historical, Educational and Memorial Center.
“Updated facilities and amenities are long overdue here at the Pennsylvania State Police Academy, the nation’s premier law enforcement training facility,” said PSP Commissioner Colonel Christopher L. Paris. “The new Academy will support the highest level of instruction for cadets, troopers, and our law enforcement partners.”
The existing Academy will remain operational throughout construction, which is scheduled to begin immediately. The project includes demolition of several existing structures and is expected to be complete in 2028.
Next year marks 100 years of training recruits in Hershey. The Pennsylvania State Highway Patrol secured the use of the former Hershey Inn, on Cocoa Avenue, from Milton S. Hershey and began training there in 1924. The Highway Patrol merged with the State Police in 1937. The training school remained at the site until 1960.
DGS awarded a $205.5 million general construction contract to Wohlsen Construction Company, of Lancaster; a $37 million HVAC contract to Midline Mechanical, LLC, of Ephrata; a $42.8 million electrical contract to Philips Brothers Electrical Contractors Inc.; and a $20.1 million plumbing contract to Jay R Reynolds, Inc., of Willow Street. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP is the design professional. Architectural illustrations are available at psp.pa.gov.
“Public safety is of the utmost importance, and the new Pennsylvania State Police Academy will ensure that our state police have the resources needed to deliver the best training for our decades to come,” said DGS Secretary Reggie McNeil. “This facility will provide a state-of-the-art, technologically advanced hub for state police. It will modernize and set the standard, ushering in a new era for law enforcement training.”
In the 2023-24 budget, Governor Shapiro secured new funding for four trooper cadet classes to train 384 new troopers, filling staffing gaps and ensuring that the PSP are well-funded and well-trained. In August, Governor Shapiro and Colonel Paris announced that the PSP would remove the college credit requirement for Pennsylvanians who want to serve as state troopers to expand opportunity for individuals seeking careers as state troopers. In the two months following that announcement, the PSP saw a 258% increase in applicants taking the test to become state troopers.
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