Kennett Square Borough officials receive results of feasibility study
● By Steven Hoffman
Thirteen months ago, the Kennett Library announced that it was moving forward on constructing a new library on its own rather than collaborating with Kennett Square Borough on plans for a larger municipal building project that would have included a new administration building, a new police station, and a new library. That left the borough with no immediate, clear path forward as far as planning for a new administration building and police station.
While there isn't an urgent need to replace either building, Kennett Square Borough will, at some point, need a new administration building and a police station. The borough is already in the process of planning for a significant expansion of the parking garage. Could an administration building and police station be incorporated into the parking garage project?
Earlier this year, the borough enlisted Buchart Horn Architects to conduct a feasibility study regarding plans for a new borough administration building and police station. The results of that study were presented to Kennett Square Borough Council by Scott Loercher, the vice president of architecture for Buchart Horn Architects, at a meeting on Aug. 6. The study indicated that including the administration building and police station as part of the parking garage project would not align well with the borough’s goals and needs.
Loercher explained that Buckhart Horn Architects compiled information for the feasibility by interviewing various borough officials, including borough manager Joseph Scalise, police chief Bill Holdsworth, and mayor Mathew Fetick. There were tours of the current borough hall and interviews with the staff, as well as tours of the current police department and interviews with police officers about operational needs for the department.
Based on those interviews, it was determined that the borough would need about 15,000 square feet of total program space for the borough administration and police station, which includes public and secured spaces that would be necessary. When future growth is factored in, the borough would need about 20,000 square feet of space in order to have buildings that would meet its needs over the next 20 years.
Including the police station and borough administration building as part of the parking garage project would be challenging because of a lack of space to meet the borough’s needs. It would also be a challenge, because of those space limitations, to design a building that would have the necessary public and secure spaces.
Buckhart Horn Architects also reviewed some of the borough-owned properties to evaluate if they could be a site for an administration building and police station, but each of those sites had significant disadvantages.
The feasibility study also took a look at project costs. The construction hard costs were projected to be $11.2 million for the parking garage fit-out option, which increased to $13.5 million when soft costs were added in. The construction hard costs were projected to be $6.2 million for the option of building a standalone building that combined the police station and administration building. That increased to $7.5 million when soft costs are also factored in.