Cranberry is taking to the first steps towards plans to improve the township’s municipal center.
At Thursday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, officials authorized spending up to $135,000 for Pittsburgh firm Ross, Schonder, Sterzinger, Cupcheck, PC for design and construction management of upgrades to the building.
After exploring five options for the 94,340 square foot facility, which ranged from simply replacing the center’s roof and HVAC system to erecting a new municipal building, supervisors settled on a plan to replace the roof and HVAC system, plus renovate the space for the library and the parks recreation area.
Both departments, along with the police station and township offices, are located within the municipal center.
Assistant township manager Duane McKee said the renovations would cost about $4.7 million.
In comparison, it would cost about $2.6 million to replace the HVAC system and roof only. To build an entirely new facility, McKee estimated it would cost about $35 million.
Officials also mulled implementing significant expansions to the building and parking lot, including a separate building on the property. Price tags for the expansions, depending on the size, ranged from $7.5 million to $18.9 million.
Township manager Jerry Andree said the staff was tasked with exploring whether it made more sense for the township to continue to invest in the current facility, which was built in the 1940s, or build a new center. Cranberry bought the building, which was once a foundry, in 1988.
Andree said the staff ultimately decided it was wiser to remain in the building. McKee called the cost of building a new center “way too expensive.”
“We were proceeding on the basis it would absolutely make sense,” Andree said of improving the current building.
Officials estimate an average of 25,000 people per month use the municipal center. During the week, about 3,000 vehicles are in and out of the parking lot per day.
McKee said the building’s roof and HVAC systems are more than 20 years old.
“The current building really isn’t that efficient, but it could be without a whole lot more work,” he said.
McKee said the renovations would take place incrementally over a several-year period. He added more expansions to the building could take place in the future if needed.
Construction on the internal renovations, including the library, could begin by February, he said. The new roof could be added in the spring.
“The library is chomping at the bit to get going,” he said.
McKee noted a $230,183 grant the library received in March from the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund would be used towards the library renovations. Cranberry also received an $18,000 state grant for new sliding doors.
McKee said the rest of the renovations would be paid for using funds from when the township refinanced two bonds in 2011.