After several years, two architects, multiple iterations and countless meetings——township council took the first concrete step Monday toward getting shovels in the ground on the municipal complex project.
Council members voted 5-0 to bond (on first reading) $11.9 million for the project following a presentation from architect Rick Ragan, of Ragan Design Group, in which he put the price of the project at $12.7 million.
, which Ragan said he and his team achieved by making multiple tweaks to the project: trimming $165,000 from earthwork expenses, reducing the height of the parapet in the back of the building for a $70,000 savings, and downsizing the generator for $50,000 savings, as well as cutting out the demolition costs for the library.
The current plan calls for the existing library to remain standing, which Mayor John Button said is a good thing because, “We also had some reservations about that, because we hadn’t solved for that space yet.”
According to the latest timeline, laid out by Rob Notley, project executive with Greyhawk, the township would advertise for bids on Sept. 7, with bids due back on Oct. 17. Council would then award the bids at its Oct. 29 meeting. Following a 16-month construction schedule, the complex would be complete by mid-March 2014.
Though the total cost of the project came to $12.7 million—it rises to around $13.7 million with remaining professional services, soft costs and a 5 percent ($600,000) contingency added in—council only needed to bond for $11.9 million because of other revenue it’s able to put toward the project, outside of the bond.
Township manager Scott Carew explained that will be used to pay the down payment, and roughly $250,000 left over from a $1.4 million bond last year and a $900,000 insurance holdback will be put toward the project as well.
Notley told council he believes the township will be able to get a good price, noting, “A lot of the contractors we’re looking at now are school construction contractors, and a lot of them are going to be coming off of projects (when we get started).”
The estimated project cost also did not include a commitment from the Friends of the Library or .
Carew said he and Councilman Chris Chiacchio recently spoke with the Friends board president Karen Olejarz, in which they .
“(Olejarz) agreed that this meets the needs of the library,” said Carew.
Council approved the bond ordinance unanimously. Button preceded the vote by remarking good-humoredly, “I’ll bet lots of people never thought we would ever get to asking this question.”
Asked by resident Rick Rohrbach why the municipal complex was such a priority for council, Button remarked, "It's hard to go back and summarize it all ... The town is more than just the sum of dollars spent on things. A town is an experience. All of us believe that this enhances the town."
Council will vote on the second reading of the ordinance at its Sept. 10 meeting.