Lansdale reviews borough hall, police station plans
Should Lansdale tear down and rebuild its current borough hall, police station, or both?
What would that cost, and how would new facilities EHnHfiW WKH ERrRuJK, LWV rHVLdents and its employees?
The answers to those questions have started to come into focus, with design plans DnG SrHOLmLnDry FRVW fiJurHV for borough council and the public to ponder.
Council saw and discussed four potential plans gan. 16 for repairing, renovating or rebuilding borough hall, the police station or a new shared facility to replace both buildings.
“It is important for this council to be able to make their decisions within the broader context of all that they are responsible for,” said Borough Manager Timi Kirchner.
Last year the borough hired Spiezle Architectural Group to examine and evaluate current issues with Borough Hall and the police station, and that firm JDvH FRunFLO HVWLmDWHV RI $1.9 million and $1.3 million to repair the known issues in each building respectively.
Since those repairs would RnOy fi[ EuLOGLnJV WKDW GRn’W have enough space for current operations and are full of aging infrastructure, council H[WHnGHG 6SLH]OH’V FRnWrDFW to look at alternatives for the ERrRuJK’V munLFLSDO FRmplex.
Scott Malin, a senior associate with Spiezle, presented IRur RSWLRnV KLV firm KDV GHveloped.
“Our recommendation as the architect for the borough, is to consider the new [building] options. There are just so many problems within this existing structure, and so many layout issues, that spending $6.6 million or $7.2 million [on rebuilds] just realOy GRHVn’W mDkH VHnVH WR uV,” Malin said.
Of the four options developed by Spiezle, all four exDmLnH RSWLRnV IRr fiWWLnJ WwR buildings into the boroughowned property between sine Street and Montgomery and oailroad avenues — off-site options were discussed by council in executive session last month but all were deemed unsuitable, according to Malin.
The largest price tag at an estimated $8.5 million comes with a plan to build an entirely new two-story building along oailroad Avenue that would provide space for a secure police station and borough hall, atop the footprint currently occupied by borough hall and extending northwest.
That enlarged building would provide adequate space for both borough and police functions, with a shared meeting room between the two for public functions, and could incorporate parts of the existing borough building at the corner of Broad and sine streets in an enlarged facility with modern utilities.
“That starts the clock over on all of the materials: now the masonry walls are age zero, not 50-plus years old, and will last much longer,” he said.
“YRu’OO EH DEOH WR mDLnWDLn the facility, have state-ofthe-art mechanical systems, WKH HnHrJy HIfiFLHnFy wLOO EH hugely improved,” and the borough could see “enormous gains in terms of layout HIfiFLHnFLHV, HnHrJy HIfiFLHnFy and long-term durability” of a new building, Malin said.
A second option would replace both borough hall and the police station with an entirely new building to the northwest of where both currently stand, with an estimated price tag of $8.26 million for a facility to be built atop current parking lots.
That new building could be constructed while staff still work in the current ones, and the space currently occupied by the police station would be converted into parking while the current borough hall footprint could become a pocket park — and both buildings would have more space, with proper layouts and up-to-date equipment for all borough departments.
“An all-new facility gives us the ability to get all ideal layouts, the ideal relationships between the departments and the phasing is much simpler: everyone occupies their current building until the new facility is ready and then moves over,” Malin said.
Another option would lead to renovations and repairs at the existing borough hall, but would include attaching a new police station to the northwest along oailroad Avenue. That option would create a combined shared building but certain issues with the current borough hall would remain. Some layout limitations would be alleviated with more space, but with an estimated price tag around $7.2 million to build one new building and renovate another, other options may provide mRrH FRVW HIfiFLHnFy, 0DOLn said.
“We still make one new VWruFWurH, EuW LW’V nRW DOO nHw — wH fi[ WKH SrREOHmV WR WKH fullest extent we can in the existing footprint of borough hall,” and to the northwest of borough hall a shared public meeting room would join an all new police station.
The lowest cost option would expand the footprints of the current borough hall and station while maintaining the two as separate facilities, with a new conference room addition to borough hall and secure space for holding cells and prisoner transport space added to the north side of the station.
Expanding each of the current buildings would require phased construction on both current buildings and still would leave layout and building envelope issues with the two current buildings. In addition, the borough would not be able to take advantage of HIfiFLHnFLHV Ey KDvLnJ ERWK police and administration under the same roof.
“We imagine it would be inconvenient while this is ocFurrLnJ, EuW wH EHOLHvH LW’V possible to do; not necessarily easy but this addition would get us close” to the space and facilities needed in both buildings, Malin said.
EDFK RI FRunFLO’V FRmmLWtees will take up the conversation about new borough buildings when they meet Feb. 6, and Kirchner said FRunFLO’V DGmLnLVWrDWLRn DnG finDnFH FRmmLWWHH wLOO uOWLmately make recommendations on how to move ahead with new buildings, if at all.
Last month, council approved a $10 million bond borrowing for long-term capital projects including building repairs, road projects DnG uSJrDGHV WR WKH ERrRuJK’V wastewater treatment plant.
During his presentation, Malin also reviewed current issues with the borough hall and police station, including cracking masonry walls and rotting woodwork on borRuJK KDOO’V H[WHrLRr, D ODFk RI interior space or secure transportation areas inside and outside the station and aging mechanical equipment due to a lack of maintenance in both.
The current police station was built as a library more than half a century ago and its 8,400 square feet is far below the 14,800 square feet the arFKLWHFWurDO firm GHHmV LGHDO for a department of its size and capabilities, with aging utilities combining with poor layout and an overall lack of space to create a long list of needs for that department.
“7KH EuLOGLnJ’V MuVW nRW ODLG out properly. At times you have victims and perpetrators basically in the same hallway, and if people come to, say, see the mayor about their wedding vows they come into the secure zone of the building,” Malin said.
Borough hall contains close to the proper amount of space — 15,839 square feet in the current building against estimated needs of roughly 18,000 square feet — but the building envelope of borough hall was designed to reuse an old post RIfiFH EuLOGLnJ Ln WKH ODWH 1980V DnG KDV VHHn flRRGing, cracked stonework, roof leaks and deterioration in the three decades since.
A complex roof structure has created openings where water seeps into the building, causing borough employees in the VHFRnG flRRr RI ERrRuJK KDOO WR literally cover their paperwork and computer equipment with tarps when storms approach to avoid water damage, according to Malin. That second flRRr FDn’W EH DFFHVVHG Ey WKRVH with disabilities, since only one VWDLrwHOO OHDGV uS WR WKDW flRRr — a potential safety hazard for employees in an emergency — and half of the borough KDOO’V VHFRnG flRRr JHWV RnOy occasional heating and cooling from building HsAC systems while the other half does not work at all.
Renderings show options for new or renovated facilities to replace Lansdale Borough Hall and the borough’s police station. The renderings were produced and provided by Spiezle Architectural Group for the borough.