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Antrim Twp. building renovation sought minus ADA upgrades

November 19, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, PA. -- In an effort to save some money, the Antrim Township Board of Supervisors said Thursday that it wants to budget renovation of its building on Antrim Church Road in 2010 without making the aging structure handicapped accessible.

"We need to figure out how to do this without dealing with that ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act)...," Board Chairman Curtis Myers said.

Facilities for township staff has been a sticking point for the board since former staff members proposed spending about $6 million on a new municipal building.

The township spent $29,750 for a consultant to tell them in 2008 that by evicting the Magisterial District Justice office, renovating and cutting back on staff, the existing facility could accommodate daily township business.

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Myers said he wants to renovate the building as affordably as possible.

While the two main entrances to the building are near- or at-grade, Township Administrator Brad Graham said the doors at both entrances are not ADA compliant.

"It's something to do with how the doors open," he said.

Less than a year ago the township replaced its front door to enhance security.

Also not compliant are the two bathrooms and indoor access to the garage, he said.

ADA compliance for grandfathered buildings is a complex question, said Mike Cermak Sr., owner of Accredited Service Inc., the Antrim Township building code inspection contractor.

"If the building changes occupancy class, for instance a pizza parlor renovated into an insurance company, then it would be required to become ADA compliant," he said. "If not, then it depends on what is renovated, bathrooms, etc., and how much the renovation costs."

It was the understanding of Accredited Services, without researching the International Building Code to be certain, that every renovation to a non-ADA compliant building, even one as small as a $20 upgrade, must be matched by an ADA upgrade valued at a minimum 20 percent of the total project cost, he said.

Figures for expenditure line item 409 "General Government Buildings" in the township's budget have yo-yoed since the board began debating the 2010 budget in October.

Supervisor Rick Baer proposed on Oct. 20 budgeting $500,000 to renovate the building.

Baer said the road crew needs a space where they can meet without interruption. Likewise, the bathrooms need handicapped accessibility.

"I think $500,000 is ridiculous," Myers said on Thursday. "My 20 percent? I say we do this for $250,000 and when we reach that we stop."

Supervisor Fred Young balked at Baer's original estimate to complete the renovation, but said he favored Baer's intent.

The board settled between Baer's and Myer's suggestions Thursday, after Roadmaster Paul Minnich mentioned receiving a quote of $350,000 to renovate the building into "a beautiful business."

The board agreed that $350,000 should be enough to renovate the building and avoid required ADA upgrades.

Supervisors James Byers and Sam Miller were absent.

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