UF views plans for new municipal building

Upper Freehold Township officials look into plans for new municipal building to house Construction Department.

By: Sarah Winkelman
   UPPER FREEHOLD — Like a pair of pants that no longer fit, the current township municipal building no longer provides sufficient room for municipal needs.
   At a committee meeting last month, township officials were shown plans for a new municipal building that would be built behind and slightly to the left of the existing municipal building on Route 539, straddling part of the lawn and parking lot.
   The project is expected to cost between $1.2 and $1.5 million. The project is scheduled to be put out to bid in October.
   The new building would house the Construction Department, which needs more space.
   "The Construction Department is currently located in the municipal building," said Thomas Kocubinski, the architect who designed the plans for the new building. "The township expressed a real need for additional space for other municipal offices. Once the Construction Department moves into the new building, space in the current building will become available. They really just need more room."
   Additional municipal offices also could be added on to the new building, if necessary in the future.
   "The building is expandable so that, if the need arises, the township can add on to the new building," said Mr. Kocubinski. "The township wanted to make sure the building could be kept current and flexible to their needs."
   If the township continues to grow, the new building could end up being a replacement for the current one.
   "No one in the township is thinking that right now, but it’s just good planning to have the option there in the future," Mr. Kocubinski said.
   When designing the new building, Mr. Kocubinski and township officials looked at the local architectural style for inspiration.
   "We borrowed from the local architectural vernacular," Mr. Kocubinski said. "We specifically looked at the agricultural heritage of the township. The building will have a silo that will be the entryway for the building. The rest of the building will have the heavy timber framing of a barn. We wanted it to recall the agricultural history of the town. The town will change over the years, so we want to interject a piece of its architectural history into the building. I think we’ve done an incredible job and our ideas have been embraced by the township."
   The new building would be 6,700 square feet. Of that, 4,700 feet would be office space upstairs while 2,000 square feet would comprise the basement storage facility for municipal records, which is required by law.
   "The basement will hold the records and free up other space in the current building," Mr. Kocubinski said. "They have a real storage issue right now and the new building will help alleviate the problem."
   The $1.5 million projected price tag, includes expenses that "go beyond the construction costs," Mr. Kocubinski said. "With any construction project there is a list of typical soft costs, such as computers, furnishings, insurance, miscellaneous fees, contingency plans, etc."