Mendham Township’s Proposed New Construction Project
Release Date: October 03, 2020
A Message from Mayor Sarah Neibart
On Thursday, October 1st, the Township Committee held a Town Hall Meeting at the Mendham Township Middle School regarding the town’s proposed new construction project. Cornerstone Architectural Group presented a plan to update Mendham Township’ s Town Hall building and build a new police station.
After responding to a Request for Proposal (RFP) in April of this year, Cornerstone Architectural Group was engaged to perform analytical and design services for Mendham Township. The scope of the project pertained to addressing the current state of the Town Hall building and the programmatic needs of the Police Department.
The Town Hall building is 97 years old, and currently houses the Municipal Offices, the Library, and the town’s large meeting room. Cornerstone documented the building in a Property Conditions Assessment Report which outlined the deficiencies and recommendations. Major issues of concern identified in the report included: the roof, the building skin, windows, doors, and the mechanical and electrical systems.
The architects detailed that the Town Hall roof is failing and needs a full replacement. The plaster exterior walls are damaged – cracked, broken, spalling, and bulging. The windows in the building are single glazed and uninsulated. The boiler is beyond its anticipated life, and the first floor has no central air conditioning. The building displays red flags for water infiltration while exhibiting difficulty maintaining consistent temperatures and comfort levels inside the building. When combined with organic material such as mineral fiber ceiling tiles, paper (library), gypsum board, wood, etc., this creates concern for mold growth. In addition to that liability, the town hall building is a public building and does not meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards.
The presentation also included a proposal to replace the roof and windows and reskin the building. The architects stressed the need to bring the building up to accessibility standards for public access by installing a new stair tower. This would allow for a 700 sq ft expansion of the library, bring the entirety of the second floor into accessible compliance, and satisfy the building code requirements while opening up access to mechanical spaces for replacement of equipment. In addition to the stair tower, ADA Compliance would be addressed by installing a new elevator and accounting for accessible toilet rooms, ramped transitions between level changes, accessible pantries, countertops, work counters, door sizes, approaches, and clearances. Additionally, this proposal includes an installation of new infrastructure for plumbing, fire, and mechanical and electrical systems.
After discussing the proposed improvements to the Town Hall building, the architects turned the public’s attention to the Mendham Township Police Station in Brookside. The Police Department currently occupies a converted 1960’s split level residence. The converted house has narrow hallways and residential bathrooms. The building does not have a proper holding room. The building is in a floodplain - the evidence room and reception area have both taken on water. In addition to the 1,900 sq ft residence that the police occupy, our officers also operate out of two trailers, and use the Emergency Services Building’s meeting room as a locker room. The Police Department is looking for basic amenities for effective law enforcement. For additional information on the current state of the Mendham Township Police Station, please view the attached video.
The architects and our Township engineer have studied the existing police facilities. They looked at utilizing adaptive reuse by housing the police within the existing Town Hall Building. There were also discussions regarding renovating, reconfiguring, and/or reconstructing the current police facility. After assessing the priorities of the public and Township Committee, the final proposal from Cornerstone Architects was a plan that was the most cost-effective and would preserve the historic fabric of the neighborhood by upgrading and expanding the municipal offices, library, and the large meeting room within the existing Town Hall building and constructing a new police facility in the location of the existing residential structure adjacent to Town Hall and the Fire Department.
The architects concluded their presentation by stating that a new police facility would be residential in scale, character, and appearance, and would include aesthetics inherent to the Brookside Historic District. The structure would be set back approximately the same distance from the road as the current residential unit and would maintain vehicular access predominantly from Cherry Lane through the parking lot. The proposal illustrated minimal parking adjacent to the building and mentioned utilizing the large municipal parking lot for the police fleet and personal vehicles.
Over the next few days, additional documentation and videos about this proposal will be posted to the Township’s website. I encourage you to review the information and provide feedback.
Have a good weekend.
Mayor, Mendham Township
Link to Mendham Township Police Project Video