Spring Garden Township commissioners on Wednesday, March 14, unanimously approved an option for a new municipal complex that supports the construction of a new one-level municipal building.

The building will house an administrative office and police and recreation departments as well as provide space for public meetings.

The cost of construction is estimated at $9.5 million, with an estimated total project cost of $11.7 million, but that does not include other associated costs, Board of Commisioners president Tom Warman said. 

The option, known as D2, creates a new complex at the eastern end of 340 Tri-Hill Road and renovates the township's Ogontz Street property for exclusive Public Works use. It also includes upgrades at the Spahn Avenue property currently leased by Public Works, according to a township building committee document.

The recommended option calls for demolition of the existing Tri-Hill Road building after the new construction to make space for a relocated recreational field, according to the township building committee document.

Commissioner Dan Rooney said he's apprehensive about being "locked" into one site concept for a new municipal complex.  

Rooney said that while he supports building on the Tri-Hill Road property, he suggests the township get a second opinion in order to arrive at "the best option for the site."  

"Are you guys amenable to, you know, revising that to say D2 or D3?" Rooney said prior to the vote. 

There were 14 conceptual "test fits" provided by York-based Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects, which were narrowed to four concepts. 

Rooney said if the township's consultants or architects "wow us with another proposal" of a two-story building, "I would like to be open to that." 

Warman said the vote cast was to proceed with finalizing details. It's a conceptual design, he said, not a final blueprint. 

Rooney reiterated that he thinks a two-story option would reduce the "impervious" surface, leaving space for a recreational area.  

"I don't want to be locked into engineering designs," Rooney said.  

Britta Schwab, a Spring Garden Township resident, said she supported Rooney's notion.

"I don't think it's too late for that," Schwab said to Rooney about hiring another consultant. "And I think there's a lot of value to considering what we as a township are potentially burdened with cost-wise."

She asked commissioners to consider the tax burden as well as the realistic needs of township services. 

"Are we potentially locking ourselves into a facility that makes great sense now, but 20 years from now, we’re tearing it down and rebuilding because it no longer makes sense?" she asked. "So, I would ask, especially from a taxpayer here in the township, consider what our tax burden would be when making any decision about the site."



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