Bethlehem Township Community Center in good condition, engineering firm says
A recent examination of the Bethlehem Township Community Center found the building to be in good condition, which is a stark contrast to 2017, when the township was about to spend nearly $2 million on repairs.
The evaluation came in a presentation to township commissioners Monday night by representatives of Entech Engineering, the Reading firm that conducted the original evaluation in 2015.
Entech Senior Mechanical Designer Mark Ray said determining the building as “good” is an industrywide ranking that goes from excellent, good, fair to poor.
“We see a lot of buildings in poor condition and this is really in good condition,’’ Ray said.
Part of the ranking is based on what components of the building need maintenance or replacement over 10 years in relation to what it would cost to build the building, which Ray said in the case of the community center is about $14.1 million.
“Or, it would cost about $2 million over 10 years to keep it in good condition,” said Entech Project Manager Katie O’Regan.
In the presentation, there were two repairs labeled “immediate priority” that included replacing a 30-by-10-foot wall that runs along the indoor track, which O’Regan said has been leaking.
The wall is made of a translucent material called Kalwall that O’Regan said should be replaced with a metal panel costing about $70,000.
Also on the immediate list was a set of devices to provide better heating to the pool office.
Ray said the devices in use now attempt to bring average temperatures to several rooms including a locker room, but because the office is at the far end of the building with two window walls, it remains cold in the winter. The cost of the devices is about $8,000.
The Entech report is more of a guideline and O’Regan noted, “We recommend what should be done sooner rather than later.”
The report is 85 pages and includes evaluations of the structure and all mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems as well as the parts for the swimming pools.
Commissioners Mike Hudak and Malissa Davis both said after the meeting the report needs to be scrutinized more closely before any conclusions are reached as to what project should be scheduled.
“What they said equates to nearly $2 million over 10 years. What it is is they did their job and now we do ours. It needs to be looked at,’’ Hudak said.
Davis agreed and said that if anything needs to addressed sooner it would be the leaking wall.
“It’s probably something we could put in our budget for next year,” she said.
The more than $2 million in repairs completed in early 2018 included new roofing, interior walls, foundation drainage systems, ventilation and dehumidification equipment, lighting and pool heating and chlorination systems.
The 50,000-square-foot facility off Farmersville Road opened in 2006 and cost $11 million. In addition to an indoor pool, the facility has indoor basketball courts, indoor track, fitness machines, fitness classes and is open every day. Township officials said it generates about $1.2 million per year and has 4,000 members who visit it a combined 200,000 times per year.
Charles Malinchak is a freelance writer for The Morning Call.
Entech Engineering has determined that the Bethlehem Township Community Center is in good condition but needs a few repairs.