Lans­dale re­views bor­ough hall, po­lice sta­tion plans

North Penn Life - - News - By Dan Sokil dsokil@jour­nalregis­

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.

Submitted pho­tos

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.

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