HomeLanghorne-Levittown TimesFalls formalizes contract with architectural firm for municipal building project

Falls formalizes contract with architectural firm for municipal building project

The board has entered into a professional services agreement with IEI Architects, Inc.

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The Falls Township board of supervisors formalized the hiring of an architectural firm for the renovation efforts of its 60,000-square-foot municipal complex.

After voting unanimously in June to hire Philadelphia-based IEI Architects for its municipal building design phase, the board voted affirmatively to enter into a professional services agreement between Falls Township and IEI Architects, Inc. Supervisors Jeff Dence and Erin Mullen were absent.

“IEI is working on a new interior and exterior façade design,” supervisors vice chairman Jeff Boraski said of the “pretty exciting” renovation project. “The township is always open. We’ve offered tours of the building. You can hear and see sometimes we’ve had tiles fall out and the water leaks and sometimes the heat will shut off in the winter.”

While the meeting room is less of a problem in terms of repair issues, Boraski said that the portion of the building where employees work daily “really needs some help.”

Township manager Matthew Takita said he anticipates receiving a rendering of the municipal complex by Sept. 9.

“I’m excited for them to keep moving ahead and taking the vision of the board and the employees,” said supervisor John Palmer of IEI. “They’re really striving to give us what we’re looking for.”

Of the long-awaited upgrades, supervisor Brian Galloway added, “It’s just long overdue.”

IEI Architects came highly recommended from construction management company Grace Construction project manager James Gates. The board named the company its project construction manager in February. As a first order of business, Grace Construction oversaw the bidding process for architectural services.

Construction documents are expected to be finalized by Oct. 1. The construction phase is expected to go out for bid on Jan. 1 with IEI overseeing construction administration from Feb. 1, 2023 through Feb. 1, 2024.

The municipal project entails a complete updating of the existing building and integrating functions. Upgrades will include improvements to administration, code enforcement and the fire marshal, finance, parks and recreation, police, clerks, tax collector, 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.

Once updated, the municipal building will also feature shared, flexible conference rooms, incubator space for start-up businesses, as well as additional support and amenity spaces. IEI will work to help departments that have either aged out of their space, outgrown their area, or are functioning in spaces that are not feasible for municipal purposes.

Jones Engineering Associates, the township’s engineer, will address a second access and exit point from the site as part of their design.

All municipal functions will be situated on the first floor for easier access among elderly and handicapped visitors. When possible, IEI’s design will incorporate cost-effective green design and construction practices, as well as strategies to reduce water and energy use.

In the company’s 30-year history, IEI has worked on the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission’s administration building, various projects for the City of Philadelphia and the design of Bordentown Township, New Jersey’s municipal building, among other municipal projects.

The supervisors had considered constructing a new and expanded municipal complex in 2017, but shelved the project due to the hefty price tag.

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