Hardyston-Work has begun on the $6.9 million construction of a new municipal building, which will quadruple the size of existing town office space when it opens next summer. The new building will be located on Wheatsworth Road in Hardyston, a location within the township's municipal park. The property was selected because of its size, location, and status of being already under the ownership of Hardyston. The new location will centralize the municipal services into one location. "It's been several years that we knew the space issues were becoming problematic," said township manager Marianne Smith. In the new center, the township's municipal offices will have 28,751-square feet, including 5,000 square feet of unfinished basement. That will leave plenty of room for future growth and expansion. By comparison, the current building, which houses both township offices and the Hardyston Police Department, has 7,650-square feet of space. The current facility is, Smith said, "a very old building with multiple additions. It was originally a one-room schoolhouse to which various additions have been added. "We own the property under the structure of the old building, but not around it," added Smith, referring to parking lots adjacent to the current building. "The very parking lots that we currently utilize for daily operations are owned by the city of Newark and are considered Newark Watershed
we did not have the opportunity to expand." The expansion will not be accompanied by a tax increase. "We were able to pay off some debts and restructure our debt load to accommodate it," said Smith of the $6,980,000 contract awarded to Joseph DeVita Inc. of Paterson in July. The project is scheduled to be completed in July 2005. The township expects the building to open for business later that summer. All offices located in the present facility are expected to move to the new center. The offices of the chief financial officer and tax collector, however, are shared with Franklin Borough and are not expected to move. The new municipal building will include court facilities, including a court/meeting room designed to accommodate 120 people; conference rooms; elevators connecting the Police Department with the Court/Municipal Office floor; full-service police facility including dispatch/communications area; and holding cells. There are no plans at the moment for the unfinished basement. Among the ideas being considered are a community meeting room or "a prism firing area," which town officials described as "a virtual firing range using simulated video scenarios for firing practice."