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Antrim supervisors OK move to new complex

March 22, 2006|by DON AINES

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - The Antrim Township Board of Supervisors Tuesday night voted 3-2 in favor of eventually moving its government buildings to a 26.6-acre site it owns off U.S. 11 south of Greencastle, but there was a lengthy discussion on options to cut the cost of the project.

Supervisors Robert Whitmore, James Byers and Scott Diffenderfer voted in favor of the resolution, with Supervisors Curtis Myers and Samuel Miller voting no. When built, the complex would replace the existing municipal offices and maintenance facilities on Antrim Church Road.

Whitmore said the township plans to pay for the building out of its capital reserve fund, without raising taxes or floating a bond issue. The working figure for the cost of the building is about $5 million, he said.

The preliminary design is for a 17,112-square-foot office building with 10,600 square feet for the township offices and the remainder for tenants, including the local magisterial district judge, Township Administrator Ben Thomas Jr. said.

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The site also would have a maintenance garage of approximately 13,000 square feet and an equipment storage building of about 7,200 square feet, Thomas said.

"My problem is with the way the public perceives the district justice being under our roof," Miller said. The cost of the building could be substantially trimmed if the magistrate's office was in a separate building, he said.

The office of Magisterial District Judge Duane Cunningham now is in the municipal building, with his office and the township sharing a hearing room. Whitmore said the plan for the government complex is to have all services in one place.

The board approved a resolution calling for Franklin County to pay for the portion of the building dedicated to the magistrate's office and also rent for its portion of the land. Whitmore cast the lone dissenting vote on the resolution.

The board also voted 3-2 to adopt the concept for the building presented by architect Jennifer Greenlee, with Miller and Myers dissenting. The basic design includes a partial second floor and the possibility of expanding it to accommodate a police department in the future.

Greenlee identified possible savings of $885,000, including leaving the second floor unfinished until later and changing the size and design of the maintenance and storage buildings. Another $330,000 could be trimmed if a geothermal well field is removed from the project, she said.

Whitmore said the project has been in discussions and development for several years, but there is no time frame for construction. The township could see another 6,000 housing units built in the next decade, which conceivably would double the population to about 26,000 and require expanded government services, Whitmore said.

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