New Town Complex to be Designed

Gregory Vellner
An architect designs a structure.Daniel McCullough

FALLS TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Five years after rejection of a plan to build a new municipal complex here because it was too pricey, officials have hired an architectural firm for the “less expensive” design and renovation of the 60,000-square-foot center next year.

Falls supervisors recently hired IEI Architects Inc. of Philadelphia for the project, according to Theresa Katalinas, communications director, Falls Township. The project pricetag is not yet known, she said, but anticipated to be “much less expensive” than the original idea.

“The current project entails renovating the existing building and is expected to be much less expensive,” said Katalinas. “We do not yet have a cost, as the construction documents have not been finalized and the project has not yet gone out to bid.”

The age of the building to be reworked, which prior to municipal offices served in “several other purposes,” is uncertain, she said.

“Falls Township had looked to build a brand new municipal complex back in 2015 or 2016,” she said. “The pricetag was much higher than anticipated and the board decided in 2017 not to move forward.”

The decision to renovate over rebuild came down to money, said Supervisor Chairman Jeffry Dence.

Said he: “After careful analysis, our board determined that while improvements could be made to our complex, it was not fiscally responsible to build a completely new structure.”

The project in the township of 33,769 is an “exciting” one, he said.

“The outlook for our updated and renovated municipal complex is exciting and truly one our residents can be proud of,” he said. “For starters, the upgraded building will offer greater community access. Perhaps most importantly, all municipal functions will be housed on the first floor. This was a significant design decision in that it will allow elderly residents and others with handicaps to get where they need to go within our building more easily.”

A second access and exit point to and from the site to “help drivers get in and out” more efficiently is being handled by project engineers, said Dence.

“It’s just long overdue,” said Supervisor Brian Galloway.

Construction documents are expected by October 1, according to Katalinas. The construction phase is expected to go out for bid January, with IEI overseeing construction administration from Feb. 1, 2023 to Feb. 1, 2024. The project sees a complete overhaul of the municipal building and integrated functions.

“IEI is working on a new interior and exterior façade design,” said Supervisor Vice Chairman Jeff Boraski.

Updates include improvements to several offices including administration, code enforcement and fire marshal, finance, parks and recreation, police, clerks, tax collector, and public works, as well as a transition from a public meeting room to a community room which could be used by residents and local groups.

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As a professional journalist for several years -- reporter, editor, feature writer, columnist -- I handled a range of subjects. Breaking news, investigative series, government action, feature events, and staff feature writer with national entertainment magazine interviewing stars including Tom Selleck, Mel Brooks and Danny DeVito. No matter the topic, certain ingredients are key: truth, facts, objectivity, balance.

Bucks County, PA

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