The Falls Township Board of Supervisors are moving forward on several fronts related to the municipal building renovation project.
During Monday night’s meeting, the governing body authorized advertisement of bids for a fencing project on Lincoln Circle. Supervisor Vice Chairman Jeff Boraski said the area would serve as a secure space for storage of township vehicles and equipment while building improvements are underway. The township is seeking bids for the removal and replacement of 925 linear feet of chain link fencing. Bids will be accepted until 11 a.m. on Oct. 11. To have a bid considered, candidates must attend a Sept. 30 site inspection at 11 a.m.
Along with relocating township items, Falls is also lining up temporary working space for roughly 20 employees while construction is ongoing.
“That way residents will still have safe access” to parks and recreation, among other departments, Boraski said.
Falls Township’s temporary headquarters would be located at 430-450 Lincoln Highway in Fairless Hills while the building is being renovated. Officials do not have a set relocation date yet, but Township Manager Matthew Takita said the move could be in place by December. Boraski said it could last a “year plus.”
Recognizing that the township has spent funds on architects, engineers and other professionals related to the municipal building renovation, the board unanimously authorized issuance of a $25 million bond. Falls Township attorney Mike Clarke said the bond allows the township to reimburse itself for expenses incurred that are related to the building project.
In related business, the board voted in favor of an addendum to the professional services agreement with IEI Architects to include the structural engineering proposal from Remington & Vernick Engineers.
The Falls Supervisors formalized the hiring of the architectural firm for the renovation efforts of its 60,000-square-foot municipal complex last month.
After voting unanimously in June to hire Philadelphia-based IEI Architects for its municipal building design phase, the board voted affirmatively in August to enter into a professional services agreement between Falls Township and IEI Architects, Inc.
IEI Architects came highly recommended from construction management company, Grace Construction Project Manager James Gates. The board named the company its project construction manager in February. As a first order of business, Grace Construction oversaw the bidding process for architectural services.
Construction documents are expected to be finalized by Oct. 1. The construction phase is expected to go out for bid on Jan. 1 with IEI overseeing construction administration from Feb. 1, 2023, through Feb. 1, 2024.
The municipal project entails a complete updating of the existing building and integrating functions. Upgrades will include improvements to administration, code enforcement and the fire marshal, finance, parks and recreation, police, clerks, tax collector, public works, as well as a transition from a public meeting room to a community room, which could be used by residents and local groups. Once updated, the municipal building will also feature shared, flexible conference rooms, incubator space for start-up businesses, as well as additional support and amenity spaces. IEI will work to help departments that have either aged out of their space, outgrown their area, or are functioning in spaces that are not feasible for municipal purposes.
Jones Engineering Associates, the township’s engineer, will address a second access and exit point from the site as part of their design.
All municipal functions will be situated on the first floor for easier access among elderly and handicapped visitors.
When possible, IEI’s design will incorporate cost-effective green design and construction practices, as well as strategies to reduce water and energy use.
In the company’s 30-year history, IEI has worked on the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission’s administration building, various projects for the City of Philadelphia and the design of Bordentown Township, New Jersey’s municipal building, among other municipal projects.
The fiscally responsible Falls Supervisors had considered constructing a new and expanded municipal complex in 2017 but shelved the project due to the hefty price tag.