New and expanded centers on schedule

Senior center, community center and library on their way to completion

By: Emily Holody
   MONROE — Plans for a new senior center, and expanded library and community center are on schedule.
   Monroe Township Engineer Ernie Feist said work on the new senior center is in the conceptual design phase, and work is expected to begin in 2008. He said plans for a community center expansion are under way and the Township Council will solicit bids from builders in the coming months. In addition, plans for the library are undergoing a final revision, and the township hopes to solicit bids from builders in the coming months.
   The projects are being funded by a $20 million bond the Township Council approved in March 2006. The council designated $7.5 million each for the senior center and library, and $5 million for the community center.
   Plans for the community center will double the size of the existing 15,244-square-foot building and will include a gymnasium, weight room, exercise room, and two meeting rooms. Construction on the community center is expected to begin sometime this year, but Mr. Feist could not say exactly when.
   The library expansion will double the existing 19,461-square-foot facility and add a drive-through window.
   The senior center will house the township Office on Aging and Transportation Division. It will be built on the corner of Applegarth and Halsey Reed roads.
   The projects require that the town meet the public bidding law, which means the projects will be given to companies who submit the lowest bid to get the work done.
   An architect and Mr. Feist’s engineering office are working on the conceptual designs for the senior center. This process will continue for another couple of months and will go out to bid at the beginning of next year, said Mr. Feist.
   Architectural plans for the library are still being worked on.
   "The architect is making final revision to the plan before we go out to bid," said Wayne Hamilton, township administrator.
   He said the process of expanding the library is going slowly because of other issues, including getting the nearby Greenbriar at Whittingham development to move its Castle Road gate. He said the library is a big project and involves a lot of coordination.
   "It takes a little time for doing things in the right sequence," said Mr. Hamilton.
   Although all three projects are far from completion, both Mr. Feist and Mr. Hamilton are happy with the timetables and said the process is going according to plan.
   "I think we’re doing pretty well in terms of meeting our schedules," said Mr. Feist.