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Published: 3/22/2006

New Bedford Township hall will be designed

BY VANESSA WINANS
BLADE STAFF WRITER

TEMPERANCE Bedford Township officials have hired an architect to design a replacement for its 40-year-old township building.

The board has hired Poggemeyer Design Group, which has offices in Temperance and Bowling Green, said trustee Dennis Steinman.

We got 10 bids, narrowed that to three, and this was the committee s recommendation to the board, Mr. Steinman said. Their contract is for $125,500 to do all the design work, engineering, site work, and staying on the project till it s over.

Mr. Steinman expects the planning to take three or four months, with groundbreaking possibly happening as soon as August. The new hall would be behind the current building, which would be demolished.

Once the firm has a proposal for a new building, the township board would then decide whether to OK it, township clerk Bob Schockman said.

Is there a need for a new building? Yes, Mr. Schockman said, pointing out a lighting fixture in his office that caught fire last year, walls stained from leaks in the roof, and wires cascading from the ceiling in several rooms.

Nevertheless the new hall is not a done deal, he added. I don t know what the expense is, he said. To say I ve made a decision would be untrue.

The current hall, with its expanses of single-pane windows and a flat roof, may look like a fine example of 1960s architecture from the outside, but inside it s another story. A heavy rainstorm renders the board s meeting room unusable, Mr. Schockman said.

When it rains, you have to stop a meeting, he said. You can t hear. It s like beating on a tom-tom.

Those pretty windows let in plenty of light and plenty of heat in the summer and cold in the window, despite the plastic over them. I m told we could save tens of thousands of dollars a year in heating and cooling, Mr. Schockman said.

As for the flaming fluorescent fixture, Mr. Schockman said he was grateful the incident occurred when he was in the office and could take care of it. After hours, the fire could have been a disaster.

This is a place waiting to burn down, he said.

Standing water has also been a problem, Mr. Steinman said.

Township officials have already sketched out a plan for a new building, which would have about 19,300 square feet, more than double the current hall s 8,500 square feet, Mr. Steinman said. One of their main goals is creating a more efficient space.

We re putting departments together that work together, like planning, zoning, ordinance, and building, all on the second floor, Mr. Steinman said.

Other services and conveniences may include a drive-up window so people can pay taxes, sewer bills, water bills, anything where you would have to come up to a counter, Mr. Steinman said. That would be open 8 to 5. Elderly people and people with disabilities they can just drive up in their car, unless they want to come in and visit.

A wireless computer network, increased security and triple-paned windows are other features they d like to have.

Building a hall for future needs is another consideration. I m hoping to make this last 60,80, 100 years, Mr. Steinman said.

Contact Vanessa Winans at: vwinans@theblade.com or 419-724-6168.



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