MONTGOMERY: Township inches ahead with municipal building renovation plans

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By Lea Kahn, Staff Writer
MONTGOMERY — Inching ahead with plans for renovations to the Municipal Building, Township Committee plans to meet with an architectural firm that has been recommended for the job.
The Spiezle Architectural Group, which has not yet been awarded a contract, will appear at Township Committee’s Feb. 4 meeting to discuss the proposed renovations to the Municipal Building. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.
The firm, which is based in Trenton, was one of three finalists for the proposed project. A subcommittee consisting of Township Administrator Donato Nieman, Township Committeeman Richard Smith, Police Director/Capt. Robert Palmer, police Lt. Thomas Wain and consultant B4 Development LLC interviewed the finalists.
Each of the three finalists was given about an hour to make its pitch to be selected, Mr. Smith said. The subcommittee held a straw poll, and “the vote for Spiezle was unanimous. Right then and there, we had all seen the team we wanted,” he said.
Capt. Palmer, who was impressed by the Spiezle Architectural Group, said it was “very uncommon to pay attention to the Police Department. Usually, the Police Department ends up with whatever is left over” during a renovation project.
It was a good idea to include the Police Department in the discussions, Capt. Palmer said. The Police Department is open “24/7/365 (and) receives wear and tear like no other department,” he said, adding that “we have a high degree of confidence in the folks we interviewed.”
The Spiezle Architectural Group paid attention to the characteristics of the Montgomery Township community and “really dialed into not just our basic requirements, but the kind of community that we are,” Capt. Palmer said.
“This is a building that has to be renovated,” Mr. Smith said. The 15,000-square-foot building, which was constructed in 1965 and had undergone additions in 1980 and 1988, is falling apart, he said. It’s time to give Montgomery Township the Municipal Building that it deserves, he added.
The proposal to renovate and expand the Municipal Building is being driven, in part, by the cramped quarters occupied by the Police Department. It has been shoe-horned into a 5,000- to 6,000-square-foot space, but at least double that amount of space is needed, according to architect Edward Rothe of B4 Development LLC. 

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