Supervisors Seek Bids for Municipal Building
With a watchful eye on costs and measures put in place to prevent unnecessary delays and project overruns, the Falls Township Board of Supervisors set the wheels in motion to move forward with a much-needed and long-awaited new municipal building.
Sitting in the board room as water trickled from the ceiling of the outdated and cramped building, the Supervisors voted unanimously to authorize advertisement and seek bids for construction of a 30 percent larger municipal complex. The new 55,174-square-foot building and adjacent 12,000-square-foot structure dedicated to Public Works would be situated in the field across from the current township building on Lincoln Highway.
Bids could be opened and potentially awarded in September. From there, the project is expected to reach completion within two years.
Project architect Jonathan Trump of Kimmel Bogrette told the board that two-thirds of the new building would be dedicated to police operations, including a sally port for holding prisoners, offices for staff and patrol, as well as the addition of a large training room.
The remaining one-third would house administration, including the tax office, finance, zoning and codes departments. A large community room for use among local groups would be a new addition, according to Trump. The new municipal building would also have enhanced space for parks and recreation activities, something that the current building is lacking.
The second building would be located adjacent to the main building and would house five service bays, as well as storage for the Public Works Department.
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. structure, 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 eco-friendly building designs have a LEED silver standard and would incorporate a geothermal system for heating and cooling both buildings. LED light fixtures would be used as well.
Plans for a new municipal complex have been in the works for many years. Supervisor Jeff Dence said the board originally sought to upgrade the current building, but opted to build a new building when renovation costs projections were “astronomical.”
Building a new facility was expected to come with the same or a slightly higher price tag. Given that the new complex will be a green facility, saving money on energy expenses for years to come, the decision to build anew was a no-brainer.
Supervisor Chairman Bob Harvie said that while the board did its due diligence in reviewing cost estimates, it would not be wise to disclose a project cost as bids could come in for less money than is estimated. The project would be funded through Falls Township’s long-term restricted savings account. The project would not financially impact Falls Township residents at all.
In keeping with its fiscally responsible stance, the Falls Supervisors also determined that a project labor agreement would ensure that the new municipal complex stays on schedule and is built as efficiently as possible, without cost-overruns and delays. A project labor agreement assures high quality control, certainty of a skilled workforce, security of the building site and an assurance that builders will not go on strike during the construction process.