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Secaucus hires architect for senior center project

The plans for the facility are coming along

The Secaucus Town Council meets in person in the council chambers nearly twice each month.

Secaucus has officially designated an architect for the new senior center project in town at 101 Centre Avenue. Mayor Michael Gonnelli and the Secaucus Town Council voted unanimously to pass a resolution doing so at a meeting in late May.

The architect chosen for the gig is Clarke Caton Hintz for $440,000, the existing architect for some Secaucus contracts. According to the resolution, the Chief Financial Officer determined sufficient grants funds were available to award the contract.

The plans are necessary before any construction can begin. Meanwhile, demolition of the old senior center and environmental remediation of the site is complete.

New senior center needed

In August of 2021, the Secaucus Town Council voted unanimously to adopt a bond ordinance to cover the cost of the new senior center totaling $7,818,670. While the bond will foot most of the bill, the town has received a number of grants and is using other monies to supplement the project such as from town reserves.

The move came after the town realized that oil tanks underneath the old center had been leaking for a number of years. Environmental remediation work needed to be done at the three buildings that composed the old center, but because some of the contamination leached under the foundation, officials said it was cheaper to start from scratch then to remediate the existing center. The old center was demolished before contaminated soil that was formerly beneath the building was removed.

Now plans are in the works for the new center. While the new building will primarily serve as a senior center during the day time, for the rest of the day and evening the facility will serve as a community center for residents to hold events and meetings. When the new senior center opens, it will be larger and more accessible to the handicapped. Amid the ongoing construction, the community center on Front Street is functioning as a makeshift senior center.

Project design coming along

In a interview after the passage of the resolution, Town Administrator Gary Jeffas gave an update as to the status of the project which has been in the design phase since at least the beginning of this year.

“The architect was already our architect for professional service contracts that are awarded every year,” Jeffas told the Hudson Reporter. “But since this is a specific project for the senior center, we got their proposal. And we approved a resolution so that all of their services under that proposal are billed to the senior center.”

Jeffas said the architect has already been working on the project, but now have been officially designated as such and will be billed specifically for their work on this project. He added that the architect has gotten to the schematic phase of the design, which he believes is the second of three phases.

“Now we’ll have to look at it, review it, and then it would go into the third phase of architectural design,” Jeffas said. “That is like the final details, when they’re getting down to the nitty gritty. That’s the electrical, the plumbing, the beams.”

Next phase in 2023?

The third phase may take some time to complete. However, by this time next year Jeffas expects the town to be going out to bid for a construction contractor.

“I think their estimation is towards the early winter time of this year to be done,” Jeffas said. “So hopefully we can bid the project in Spring of 2023.”

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.