TEMPERANCE - A special subcommittee and architect looking at building a new town hall for Bedford Township has placed a $2.5 million price tag on the project and estimated that it could be ready to occupy by the summer of 2007 if it gets local approval by next month.
Township trustees Dennis Steinman and Larry O'Dell have spent several months compiling estimates on the cost of refurbishing the current 40-year-old town hall, buying a local church and converting it into a town hall, or building a new town hall behind the existing one.
Those estimates, presented in one comprehensive package to their fellow board members late last week, ranged from $1.5 million for the church, $1.8 million to remodel the current hall, and $2.5 million for a new, two-story, 20,000 square-foot building.
And both Mr. Steinman and Mr. O'Dell believe that the township's best course of action is to pursue the more expensive option.
"We've looked at all the options. This is all the costs," Mr. Steinman said last week. "We'll be saving utilities with a new building, it will be an efficient design, it will be laid out correctly."
Mr. O'Dell was even more emphatic about the need to upgrade the township's facilities.
"It's an awfully old hall. It's not efficient. They tell me stories about how moisture was running underneath the carpet, how you have workers on top of each other in the treasurer's department," Mr. O'Dell said. "The treasurer's department used to be a garage! If you go in the back, you can see where they blocked in the door."
For nearly a year, township board members have been discussing what to do about the current township hall, which was built in 1966 and suffers from cramped quarters, horrible energy efficiency, and a deafening roar from the roof when it rains.
The new township hall that the trustees and architect Mike Hammond have envisioned is similar to the footprint of Sylvania City Hall, although would only be two stories tall. A larger board meeting room would be located on the second floor, with a 2,000-square-foot sheriff's substation on the ground floor.
The building would have a brick facade and a pitched asphalt roof, and may include a basement if the underground water table on the Jackman Road site will allow it, Mr. Steinman said.
Initially, township supervisor Walt Wilburn and Mr. Steinman looked at renovating the current hall by expanding the footprint and adding a pitched roof overhead. That plan proved more expensive than the next option they investigated: the purchase and renovation of Harvest Christian Assembly at the corner of Temperance and Secor roads.
But upon closer inspection, township officials discovered that the church site, which lacked city water and sewer service, also wasn't going to be large enough to serve the township's space requirements. That plan would have required the township to keep the current township hall and convert it for use as a sheriff's substation.
"If we refurbish the existing the existing township hall at $1.8 million, we could be tack-ing another $350,000 on top of that $1.8 million for drainage and a new standby generator, and you've still got a 40-year-old building," Mr. Steinman said.
"We looked at the church, and we'd be at $1.2 or $1.3, with no city water, no sewers at all, and we'd still only have 10,000 square feet. We'd move the sheriff into the current township hall, and we'd have to put $400,000 or $450,000 into the township hall, and we'd have two buildings that we'd have to heat and maintain. And there, we'd have a 15-year-old building again," Mr. Steinman said.