In five months, the Hatboro Borough Council expects to have a better idea of how existing borough-owned structures can be fixed up, expanded, and, as a last resort, replaced.
On Monday night, following interviews with three architectural firms last week, the borough council voted 6-0 to retain Thomas Committa Associates Inc., - or TCA – to undertake a at a cost not to exceed $19,500.
Council President John Zygmont said TCA would provide a written report, cost estimates, as well as design sketches within five months. Zygmont said the firm wowed borough officials by offering suggestions to “deal with things we have,” as opposed to the sole suggestion of demolishing and building anew.
“They aren’t coming in here saying ‘tear down the police building and build a new one,’ ” Zygmont told Patch, of what he deemed a “conservative approach” to addressing the antiquated and overcrowded police structure, as well as other borough-owned buildings.
Under the previous Democrat-controlled council’s leadership last year, to determine if the existing nearly 60-year-old police station should be renovated and expanded, or razed and built anew. The architectural firm suggested the council build a new police station at a $2.2 million price tag.
that his concern regarding Omnia’s evaluation is that representatives did not take into account what would happen to the public works space within the existing police building.
Councilwoman Patty Fleming said she liked that Committa “wanted to get efficiencies out of what we already owned.”
She said Committa, like the other architects who had submitted bids, had taken a tour of the borough and “knew what we had.” But, instead of suggesting shelling out millions to build new structures, Fleming said Committa talked about adding onto the police building, which she said would be at a lower cost.
Given the economy, Fleming said the governing body had concerns that a feasibility study would be conducted and the council would not have the money to carry out the recommended improvements. Those fears have been alleviated a bit through Committa’s “out-of-the-box solutions,” she said.
Councilman Robert Hegele, a retired patrol sergeant, said some improvements are needed at the station. Hegele said Committa “saw some things we could work with.”
Besides issues of either expanding and upgrading versus demolishing and rebuilding the police station, the facilities study would also offer insight on how the public works departments' need for space could be addressed; and what should be done about the .
“We do know it’s necessary,” Hegele said of the study.