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Project Spotlight: South Whitehall Township Municipal Complex

Client Name: South Whitehall Township

Project Name: South Whitehall Township Municipal Complex

Construction Completion/ Opening Date: June 22, 2021

Design Team: Todd Chambers, Ryan Kennedy, Megan Henry, Ali Higgs

Overall SF: 53,000 SF

Construction Cost/ Budget: ~$8,300,000

Last week, South Whitehall Township celebrated the ribbon cutting ceremony for their recently renovated municipal complex.  The new 53,000 SF space provides additional office space, new training rooms for the Police Department, improved locker rooms, a new 1,600 SF Public Meeting Room, and room for additional growth.  MKSD partnered with HB Engineers, Slate Structural Engineers, The Pidcock Company and Brown Design Corp on the design of the building and grounds.

Who was the project for and why?

The South Whitehall Township Municipal Complex is home to many services including police, public works, parks and recreation, and more.  In an effort to better serve their growing community, South Whitehall Township worked alongside the MKSD team to expand and update the existing municipal complex. 

Describe some of the preliminary phases of the project.

Back in 2018, MKSD and South Whitehall Township began working together on a feasibility study to determine the space requirements, functions, and future growth potential of the municipal complex.  Some of the initial goals included efficient community access, better staff and workflow efficiencies, and reduced maintenance issues.  With an understanding of existing concerns and the future goals of the township, MKSD began developing initial floor plans to explore these concepts. 

Discuss how the project developed and some design hurdles.

As discussions continued with the township, board, and community, MKSD developed plan options to meet the variety of needs, including the following:

  • Larger public meeting space and a smaller conference room
  • Easier wayfinding for community members
  • Additional parking
  • More efficient office organization
  • Updated building systems (HVAC, roof, etc.)
  • Better security

The final plan selected involved a building addition and remodel of the existing complex.  The new facility relocated community access to the opposite side of the building, providing quick access from the parking lot to the new lobby and adjacent public meeting rooms.  The remaining first floor was reorganized to provide better workflow between township departments and shell space for future growth. The lower level was redesigned to provide training facilities for police, enlarged locker rooms, and increased workspace for public works.

What major design features were implemented?

Prior to the renovations, visitors were challenged to choose one of three separate entrances to the building for different departments.  A new, common public entrance to the facility greatly simplifies wayfinding for visitors to the complex.

Photo credit: Paul S. Bartholomew

The existing stone of the municipal complex adds charm and character – it was important to carry of this existing design feature into the new addition.  However, finding the right stone shape and color turned out to not be an easy task!  The character of the building exterior was carried to the interior with a stone feature wall and faux wood beams in the new 1600 SF Public Meeting Room. 

Photo credit: Paul S. Bartholomew

The MKSD team is thankful to be a part of this project and would like to wish the staff and community of South Whitehall Township the best of luck with their new municipal complex!

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