MONTGOMERY: Municipal building one step closer to renovation, expansion

By Lea Kahn, Staff Writer
MONTGOMERY — Moving closer toward a possible expansion and renovation of the municipal building, township committee has awarded a contract to Princeton-based consultants B4 Development LLC.
The contract, which was approved by township committee at its Sept. 17 meeting, will not exceed $87,160. B4 Development LLC was formerly known as Rothe-Santini, an architectural firm that had outlined possible renovations to the building earlier this year.
The contract calls for the consultants to conduct an analysis of the building — how much space each department needs, where it would be located within the building, and the building’s overall physical condition, Committeeman Rich Smith said.
The consultants will meet with police department representatives and township officials to develop conceptual plans for a reconfigured and renovated police department headquarters. The consultants also will meet with representatives of other municipal departments to review their space needs.
Also, the consultants will obtain a site survey of the existing conditions. They will prepare an assessment of the existing building — its roof, windows and masonry, as well as the interior (ceilings, flooring, walls and doors), and make recommendations for improvements or replacement.
Finally, the consultants will prepare two architectural designs for the exterior of the building for township officials’ review approval. If township officials give the go-ahead, the consultants will draw up a list of qualified architectural firms to be considered as the architect of record for the project.
In May, architect Edward N. Rothe — of the former Rothe-Santini firm — outlined possible renovations to the municipal building. Township committee was considering whether to renovate and expand the existing building, build a new municipal building on-site, or buy another building and relocate to that one.
The 15,000-square-foot municipal building was constructed in stages. The original section was built in 1965, and additions were made in 1980 and 1988.
The proposal to renovate and expand the municipal building is being driven, in part, by the cramped quarters occupied by the police department. Last May, Mr. Rothe told township committee that the police department was “shoe-horned” into a 5,000- to 6,000-square-foot space, but at least double that amount of space is needed.
Mr. Rothe told township committee last spring that a renovation and expansion project would solve the issue of space for the police department. There is no storage space for the boxes and other items in the police department’s present quarters, he said.
At that time, township committee was told that if it opted for an expansion and renovation of the building, it would be undertaken in phases. The project would take about two years to complete. 