Supervisors Ensure Timely Municipal Complex Construction
Falls Township is working to make sure its new municipal complex stays on schedule and is built as efficiently as possible, without cost-overruns and delays.
The Supervisors approved a resolution during its February meeting to formulate a project labor agreement between Falls and the Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council.
“It would serve to ensure that the project is completed timely, with no interruptions and everything is done in the most efficient manner,” Township attorney Lauren Gallagher told the board.
Supervisors Chairman Bob Harvie said he has seen nearby projects cause an “immense amount of problems” with cost over-runs and delays. Harvie said the board wanted to be sure that would not happen in Falls.
Final bid specifications are being prepared for the 55,174-square-foot building, which will be built adjacent to where the existing building stands. The project will be advertised, bids will be solicited and a contract award and subsequent construction is expected by spring. From there, construction, which will be carried out in several phases, will commence over an estimated 18-month period.
The new municipal complex would be situated in the field across from the current township building on Lincoln Highway. The first phase includes the administration, police building and Public Works department. Once those buildings are constructed, the current municipal building would be demolished.
Infrastructure, including parking lots and an improved stormwater management system, would be built at the demolition site. In all, the Supervisors support a plan to increase the green space – thereby decreasing impervious surface – by one-half acre.
The current building was never designed to be a municipal building. The building’s elevator, roof and atrium have always been an issue and the building, as it is constructed now, does not have a true front entrance.
Departments, including the police and administration, are short on space, including room for meetings.
During storms the building is prone to flooding. Ceilings above the codes and zoning office leak onto employees’ desks after heavy rain.
Plans call for a municipal complex approximately 30 percent larger than the existing building.
The project is expected to cost approximately $18 million, which would be funded through Falls Township’s long-term restricted savings account. The project would not financially impact Falls Township residents at all.
Officials had considered four different plans, including three which incorporated renovations to the existing building. Ultimately, renovating would cost more than building new, officials said.