Beth­le­hem Town­ship Community Cen­ter in good con­di­tion, engi­neer­ing firm says

The Morning Call - - LOCAL NEWS - By Charles Mal­in­chak

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.

MICHELLE MER­LIN/MORN­ING CALL FILE PHOTO

En­tech Engi­neer­ing has de­ter­mined that the Beth­le­hem Town­ship Community Cen­ter is in good con­di­tion but needs a few re­pairs.

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