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PA Game Commission to build new regional office near Spring Creek Canyon in the State College area

"Welcome State Gamelands Hunt Safely Pennsylvania Game Commission" sign in grassy area next to a parking lot.
Anne Danahy
The Pennsylvania Game Commission sign and parking lot near the Spring Creek Canyon area in Benner Township, Centre County. The state Game Commission plans to build a new Northcentral Regional Office building in the parking lot area.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission plans to close its Jersey Shore office and build a new Northcentral Regional Office near the Spring Creek Canyon in Benner Township, Centre County, saying the new facility will allow the agency to better serve the public.

Dave Gustafson, director of lands and wildlife habitat management for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, said the current Northcentral Regional Office in Jersey Shore is more than 50 years old and has cost more than $300,000 in emergency repairs since 2016. He said when the Game Commission was looking at options for the office, the State College site jumped out because of its location.

“When we looked at the needs for a new regional headquarters, we thought: Man, this would be the perfect spot," Gustafson said.

The site is next to I-99, near I-80 and close to State College. And it’s near the Spring Creek Canyon.

The canyon had been part of the State Correctional Institution at Rockview's grounds and closed to the public. But under an agreement and legislation, about 1,800 acres of land was transferred to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Fish and Boat Commission, Penn State and Benner Township. Of that, about 1,200 acres were conveyed to the Game Commission. It was opened to the public in 2011.

Gustafson said the Game Commission has consulted with members of the Technical Advisory Group that was formed after the land transfer about the building project.

“We were very careful with the planning of where the building should be located," he said. "Because we did not want to have impacts to the scenic or recreational values of the canyon itself. We knew — there's no way we're putting a building down in the canyon or interrupting that natural corridor. We weren't about to do that. We didn't want to take away wildlife habitats."

The office will be built off of Shiloh Road, near I-99, where a parking lot is. The project will cost an estimated $20 million and take 18 months to complete. Gustafson said the Game Commission hopes to begin construction in 2025.

He said that as a state agency, the Game Commission is not subject to municipal regulatory oversight of the building project, but they are going through the land development review process.

Anne Danahy has been a reporter at WPSU since fall 2017. Before crossing over to radio, she was a reporter at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania, and she worked in communications at Penn State. She is married with cats.