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Washington County awards bid to transform former U.S. Army Reserve building into senior center

April 23, 2013|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com
  • The former U.S. Army Reserve building in Hagerstown will be transformed into the permanent home of a Washington County senior activities center.
Herald-Mail file photo

The plan to transform a former U.S. Army Reserve building in Hagerstown into the permanent home of a Washington County senior activities center took a big step forward Tuesday.

The Washington County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday voted unanimously to award to the lowest responsive bidder, Murphy & Dittenhafer Inc., of Baltimore, a $209,430 contract to oversee the eight phases of architecture and engineering of the project at 21 Willard St.

The $4.3 million project, which includes an estimated $4.1 million in construction, is expected to be completed in January 2015, county Purchasing Director Karen R. Luther told the five commissioners.

“I’ve heard nothing but positive comments about moving to this location for the senior center,” Luther said.

Murphy & Dittenhafer will provide the architecture and interior design as well as serve as the overall project manager for pre-construction services. The consultant design team also includes six other firms with specific areas of expertise, including local engineers Regan-Matonak & Associates and Frederick, Seibert & Associates, Inc., both of Hagerstown.

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Robert Slocum, deputy director of the county’s Division of Public Works, said the brick and mortar exterior of the three buildings on the property will remain largely unchanged. He said officials had heard from people who asked that the buildings keep their original look.

Office space for the Washington County Commission on Aging also will be part of the interior renovations, Slocum told the commissioners.

“We are all very interested in seeing this project move expediently,” he said, noting that a number of “well-qualified firms” submitted bids for the project but the ability to complete the work in a timely manner was key in the recommendation to select Murphy & Dittenhafer.

According to the county’s timeline for completion, 30 days are allotted for the first phase of programming and planning, and an initial schematic design is expected to be prepared in about 60 days. Once designs are finalized in the coming months, renovations are expected to take about eight months.

The main structure on the 4.6-acre property has about 19,200 square feet of usable interior space. The property, near the Hagerstown Greens at Hamilton Run golf course, also includes large parking areas and lots of green space.

“I think this is a great step forward,” Commissioner Ruth Anne Callaham said. “I think it’s going to make it possible to actually have a senior center, something people have wanted for so very long.

“But the watch word is that we’ve got to stay on top of it,” she said. “As Mr. Slocum said, every point in this project will be scrutinized very carefully and the county will make sure we move forward quickly.”

Establishing a permanent senior center has been a desire for county officials for some years now. A temporary facility has been operating at Girls, Inc., of Washington County at 626 Washington Ave. in Hagerstown.

The new location served as a military facility before it ceased operation in recent years. The county purchased the property from the city for $625,000 in November 2012.

Design and construction costs are funded through the county’s Capital Improvement Budget.

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