Falls Supervisors hire architectural firm for municipal building project

The Falls Township Board of Supervisors have advanced renovation efforts for its 60,000-square-foot municipal building with the hiring of an architectural firm. The governing body voted 3-0 on June 20th to hire Philadelphia-based IEI Architects for its municipal building design phase. Supervisors Jeff Boraski and Brian Galloway were absent.

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.

“Throughout the RFP process, IEI exceeded expectations from proposal detail, preparation for their presentation, and delivery of materials during their interview,” Gates said. “IEI commented that they wanted the renovation of your building to be community focused, which I believe is exactly what the Township is looking for with this project.”

Township Manager Matthew Takita said two other firms were interviewed in addition to IEI.

“IEI exceeded the other firms in scope and enthusiasm,” said Takita, an architect himself. “All the references came back with glowing remarks.”

The building project committee, which includes Supervisors John Palmer and Erin Mullen, recommended IEI also. Palmer said he liked the company’s “energy.” “They were ahead and above everybody else,” Palmer said.

IEI anticipates programming completion in early July with schematic design concluding by mid-August. From there, design development is anticipated to finish by September 9th with construction documents being finalized by October 1st. The construction phase is expected to go out for bid on January 1st with IEI overseeing construction administration from February 1st, 2023, through February 1st, 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 by 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 approved IEI’s five-phase proposal in the amount of $1,364,402. The board also authorized fee reimbursements in an amount not to exceed $33,000. 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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