Lower Pottsgrove Municipal Campus on Indefinite Hold

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – Plans to build a new municipal campus on East High Street for Lower Pottsgrove’s administrative offices and police department (at top) have been put on an indefinite hold, according to the township Board of Commissioners.

The board, during its second meeting of the month, unanimously voted Thursday (Feb. 25, 2022) to “reject all bids” received Jan. 21 for the project. They included those for general contractor, electrical, plumbing, and heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and mechanical work. All exceeded expectations and its budget, board President Bruce Foltz said.

The complete bid list was not immediately available during the meeting. Township Manager Ed Wagner offered to furnish it to The Posts on Friday (Feb. 25) by e-mail. They will be included as an update to this story when provided.

“We’re not sure how things are going to move from here,” Commissioner Ray Lopez, a member of the board Infrastructure Committee, noted. “We hope the public will be patient,” he added. Commissioners have so far spent nearly four years shepherding the project, Foltz observed.

It began with a simple compilation of the township’s needs for more space. Since then it purchased several properties, relied on two different architects, spent hours reviewing drawings and documents, and endured complaints over its more than $8 million proposed cost. Commissioners imposed a separate tax to pay for construction, and arranged bond financing to be repaid by tax proceeds.

Bids have been rejected several times, including when a winning general contractor failed to secure insurance to compensate the township if the work was not completed.

Its need for space hasn’t diminished, Lopez pointed out. Its police force, which again has a female officer in its ranks, lacks sufficient room for personnel, interview, and other storage requirements. When COVID-related social distancing became necessary, meetings in its small conference room were so impractical that they were moved first to virtual sessions, and then in-person to The Sunnybrook Ballroom.

For now, though, the municipal campus plan will remain dormant – possibly for as much as two years, Lopez suggested – until the board can “decide and finalize how we move forward.” It also seems the current appearance of the project site will remain as is for the foreseeable future.

Earlier in the meeting, former commissioner and board president Tom Troutman lobbied to have the township make the location, in the heart of Sanatoga village, more presentable by cleaning it up and leveling loads of earthen fill piled there. It looks like “a disaster, a distressed area,” Troutman claimed. The board took no official action on his request.

Photo by The Posts of a rendering displayed by Lower Pottsgrove Township