Architects review plans for municipal building
ELSA KERSCHNER/TIMES NEWS Martin Kimmel shows a rear view of the proposed new Towamensing Township building.
Martin Kimmel and Morgan Shinsec, representing Kimmel Bogrette Architecture, talked about the new municipal building in Towamensng Township during a meeting held Sept. 17.
The company, which specializes in work for municipalities, works toward "extraordinary solutions for ordinary budgets" and is careful with fiscal responsibility," Kimmel said. The first step is discerning the need and then looking at the building as an opportunity to build community.
One-half of the footage of the proposed building is for the township and one-half for the community. It will sit on a nearly five-acre lot with the building to use as small a portion as possible to allow for future use. The building will have a 10,000-square-foot footprint with 64 parking spaces.
Kimmel said the construction market is favorable now with costs having fallen 30 percent.
The 5,500-square feet dedicated to community use will have two all-purpose rooms. They will be designed for visual projection and a sound system. There will be a raised area in front creating a small stage.
On the township side, there will be offices for planning, zoning, the tax collector, a future township manager, sewage enforcement officer and the secretary-treasurer. An 800-foot section will be leased out, probably to another governmental office or a non-profit.
The building will have a full basement. Two sets of stairs and an elevator are available for going into the basement. There will be a 12-by-16 foot computer-data storage room.
Kimmel said the plan mirrors other municipalities which are looking to the future.
Resident Connie Bieling, who asked about kitchen facilities, was told there will be a countertop with base cabinets and a sink. A break room will have more sophisticated facilities, said Kimmel. Emergency management coordinator Tom Newman said there should be showers, rest rooms and wash stands for people who are brought for shelter during an emergency.
Resident Guy Seifert said a full kitchen should be included with refrigerator, stove top and microwave. He said there should be wiring for both present and future computer use.
When Seifert asked about the cost of operation, supervisor Rodney George said township employees handle maintenance at the present site but will not at the new one.
Kimmel said geo-thermal heating and cooling were planned. There will be 16 wells going 400-feet deep which he considers sufficient.
Resident Joe Faraldo, who works with heating, said he can guarantee geo-thermal will not keep the building warm in this climate.
The design incorporates recycled timber, wood rafters and a stone veneer. It lets in enough light that electrical lighting will not be necessary all the time. The roof is in three sections which will allow the use of clerestory windows.
There will be an infiltration basin as part of the stormwater control.
Resident Earl Beers repeated a comment made by several people at previous township meetings that there should not be two sites, an old and new one.
"A house divided is not efficient. It is not good," he said.
When Newman asked if a garage could be attached, Kimmel said the sounds, smells and hazardous materials make that impractical.
Seifert asked if Kimmel would change anything if a future garage was planned. It was already moved forward on the lot to leave more future development room, said Kimmel.
Supervisor Penny Kleintop said engineer Bruce Steigerwalt does not have the land development plan ready and the one being shown is an early design.
Glenn Beers said the building looks great and makes a statement, but looking great can cost money.
Bieling asked if the underground water storage requested by Fire Chief Wayne Knirnschild will be included.
Seifert asked if it was reasonable to have a wet retention pond instead of a dry one which could provide water but George said it would also breed mosquitoes.
When Dick Bieling asked how deep they went to hit rock, George said it was 12 to 14 feet before they hit shale.
There will be a sand mound septic system.
When Newman asked about the cost, he was told it will be $3.5 to $3.9 million.
Kimmel will oversee the project and will remain involved for one year after it is occupied. During that year, the company will be responsible for fixing anything that goes wrong excepting something caused by misuse.
E. Beers said there is a lot of open space and Kimmel added that much of it is large enough to be considered usable space.
The company, he said, is "not a big fan of open space."