Stafford To Construct Two New Community Centers

Dated: 03/02/2014

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Stafford Township officials unveiled plans to construct not one, but two new community centers in town: one in place of the Mill Creek Community Center in Beach Haven West, which was heavily damaged in Superstorm Sandy, and one behind the former town hall, now the East Bay Avenue Community Center, which will be demolished when the new building is finished. The announcement came at the regular council meeting of Feb. 18. Mayor John Spodofora said the plans had come through several incarnations, and by the third or fourth version the council had reached a comfortable place with it. Stafford’s architect, Vince Sibona, and Township Engineer John Hess presented the plans. The two buildings are similar in exterior appearance, for continuity. The new Mill Creek Community Center will be a 5,000-square-foot, pre-engineered metal building, Sibona explained. Inside, meeting rooms can be subdivided (and can accommodate up to 300 occupants), and additional support spaces include a kitchen, club storage space, other storage, barrier-free restrooms, basic office area as a control point, general office space and a conference room. Outside, a low wall will disguise some of the pre-fab building, as a cost-effective way to “dress up” the building, he said. The pavilion, on East Bay Avenue, is a smaller-scale version of the same building, 1,600 square feet, with a large multipurpose room, kitchen area and serving counter to the outside, a restroom, storage, and a covered entrance. In working out the design, Spodofora said, storage and access were key factors, as well as accommodations for emergency management and civic groups. Councilman Henry Mancini said he feels the final plans are efficient, while meeting the community’s needs. “Everyone had a voice, everyone had an opinion, and collectively that’s when the best creations are developed,” Sibona said of the design process. Spodofora  hopes the new pavilion will draw more people into and through the downtown area. In general the council is excited about the number of possible ways these centers will be assets to the community. To the question of money, Township Administrator James Moran said the total cost of the project, before reimbursement, was about $2 million. The town is still waiting for FEMA and insurance payouts, he added. The project calls for groundwater source heat pumps, the most efficient heating system available, he said, with incentive from the state Board of Public Utilities; POS water heaters; LED lighting throughout; lighting control systems and energy recovery systems; plus insulation and other passive means of efficiency. Should the money become available, the building would lend itself to putting solar panels on the roof, he added. Additional grants are being sought for energy-efficient building. Given the soil conditions, the Mill Creek building will need to go on a support structure. Engineers are factoring that into their estimates, he said. Hess said ramps will provide access to the pavilion, with the ground beneath it raised and tapered out along a gradual slope. A geo-tech crew will do soil borings to determine the exact bearing capacity for the foundations. The next step in what Moran called an “aggressive” construction schedule is to adopt the bond ordinances in March, then wait for authorization for funding, then put the project out to bid by mid to late April, wait the six-week bidding period, and then, assuming numbers come in well, award the bid and proceed to construction. Completion is expected by next spring, at the latest. Moran said the metal buildings are cost-effective, but the problem is they’re custom ordered, made in a factory and dependent on the availability of steel, so the factory assembly takes much longer than putting the structure up.

Courtesy of— Victoria Ford
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Kim Pileggi

Greetings from Long Beach Island! I am a full time real estate agent specializing in LBI sales and summer rentals, servicing all of LBI and the surrounding mainland communities. I have earned several ....

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