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Plymouth Nears Vote on $22.3M Renovation/Addition to Township Campus, Funding Still Not "Clear"

Updated: Oct 1, 2020


During their September 7, 2020 Council Workshop, Plymouth Township Council heard near-final proposals from their Architectural Firm KCBA (the same firm who designed the new Middle School building) regarding a proposed $22,300,000 project that would completely transform the Township Campus (Township building, K-9 kennels, Pubic Works Building and Fueling station.

The project, which was presented as a complete project and not a phased approach would last 72 weeks. Although a rough estimate was presented Council said they were still considering options for funding this project.

The project would include, among other items the following:

Additional work/conference space for Township Administration. Mainly for the Code Department to allow for easier access to the public, more space for the employees, proper storage, and "room for growth". During this presentation, we noted the team spoke of accommodating future growth, with Plymouth at near capacity one would question how many more employees we would be expected to hire over the next 10-15 years?

New roof and HVAC systems for the entire building. This is the one item Council does not have a choice on. Township Manager Karen Weiss made it clear, they need to pay for a new roof and they must replace the now 50+-year-old electric boiler which constantly breaks and parts are hard to come by.

Additional conference room space behind the current Auditorium. The rear of the current Auditorium is probably the most unwelcoming and underused spots in the entire building. There are currently bathrooms (who knew) and a lobby located behind the Auditorium. The plan is to demolish the bathrooms, add new small conference rooms that can be used by the community to hold meetings.

An expansion of the Public Works Garage. This addition would allow more of the Township vehicles to be covered from the elements. Covering the vehicles was sited as a way to extend the life of Township vehicles. There was no discussion on how often we currently replace our equipment compared to other townships who have their equipment covered to see if there is a benefit.

The addition of coverings to the fuel stations. This would allow Township employees to fuel equipment while protected from the elements. It would also help with snow accumulation around the pumps.

Major Renovations to the Public Works Restrooms and Breakroom areas. This would allow for a full renovation of the restrooms, bunk rooms, and break rooms used and allow for ADA upgrades.

New relocated covered entrance for Township Employees located closer to Employee Parking. As with the current set-up, township employee parking is located on the side of the building, this new entrance would allow secure covered access to the employee-only area of the building.

Code compliant stormwater management system for the entire campus: This will include the implementation of several Rain Gardens on Campus. Currently, the campus does not meet code and as the Township requires this of others they should be the example of how it should be done.

Addition of a new elevator to the basement: This elevator will allow for items to be moved to the basement which are currently carried up/down the steps.

Complete reconstruction of current parking lots. The current curved set-up of the parking lot of the campus will be reworked to accommodate stormwater management and the relocation of the main entrance to the current front side of the building.

New Sally Port for the Police (the place they take suspects upon arrival to the station for booking). Getting "booked" in Plymouth would get an upgrade. The additional space will allow police cars to arrive in a secure garage an unload suspects to a secure booking area. This area will also allow for motorcycle parking.

New, relocated, K-9 Kennels to move the dogs closer to the station and away from the Public Works Trucks. Currently, our K-9s are housed in a garage which is located next to the Public Works Garage, with the space needed for the expansion of the garage, the dogs will be moved to a new facility closer to the police station.

New secure parking for Police equipment. Currently, our police vehicles are not secured, open to the public, and located a short walk from the building. This delays response time and does not allow equipment to be protected from the elements.

Newly relocated entrance for the Police Department staff inside the secure parking area. This door would be located inside the secure parking area.

Connect Township Campus to New Hope Street. One thing which was mentioned but not shown on the plans, there are plans to connect the Township Campus to the new Middle School road which will give access to New Hope Street. This would allow for faster dispatch of police as well as lower wear and tear on township equipment they leave and return to the township building in less time.

During the Township Meeting on September 14, 2020 we questioned if the public would be given an opportunity to review and comment on this proposed plan before a vote would be imminent, while we did not get a firm yes, we also did not get a no. Council did note they have had information regarding their intentions of this project on their website for the last 3-4 years. We checked and they are correct, the outdated information from 2018 is on the website here. There is no mention of any plans or advancement of this project since then, so unless you stumbled upon the meeting as we did you would also probably have no clue they are on the verge of voting to spend 23.7 million tax dollars while all you have access to is this outdated slide show from 2018.

Editor's Opinion:

Let me start by saying I am not denying our Township needs to complete some much-needed updates to our campus, it is dark, dank, and in spots downright nasty. Our Township employees work hard for us and deserve a safe, secure, and comfortable work environment but we need to be smart about how we spend our tax dollars. This proposal, which they could vote on as early as October, and this project will definitely have action before January, deserves the same amount if not more of a dedicated "workshop" before it gets a vote. Yes, they told us of their needs in 2018, great - now have the respect for our citizens to tell us what your plan is and answer our questions and take the time to review and consider our feedback before you have a motion on the floor to vote on the same night.

We as taxpayers deserve a chance to comment and review the proposal in a highly publicized format. I am sending an email to the entire council to ask for that commitment and I hope you do too. Here are the email addresses you will need.

All pictures are screenshots from the September 7th workshop, you can watch the video here.

Join our conversation here.

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