Cranberry officials expected to OK municipal building expansion
Housing a library, township offices, the police department and 150 programs offered by Cranberry's recreation department, including a kinder gym, basketball and dance classes, the township's municipal center is getting a real workout.
So much so that Cranberry supervisors are expected to approve a major renovation by the end of the year.
The options range from an overhaul that would cost from $2.5 million to $4.7 million, to $35 million for a new building.
“We are just always running out of space. It's a heavily used building,” said Duane McKee, Cranberry's assistant manager.
Proposed renovations include adding to Cranberry's public library; renovating 6,000 square feet of unused space; repairing the building's roof; and replacing the building's heating and air conditioning system.
“It's not in bad shape. We have some efficiency issues. The heating and air conditioning is now 22 years old, and the building's roof is deteriorating,” McKee said.
“It is a busy building. Sometimes it's hard to park here,” said Michelle Semrau of Cranberry as she left the library with her son.
Semrau's teenage boys play basketball in the municipal center.
“We come here all the time. A lot of people do. Adding space to the building would be helpful,” she said.
About 25,000 people visit the building each month.
“That can be for anything from going to the library to getting a building permit,” McKee said.
Rooms are in heavy demand largely because of the township's extensive recreation programs, he said.
Bruce Mazzoni, chairman of Cranberry's supervisors, said he and his colleagues are most likely to opt for the less-expensive plan.
Officials said they don't anticipate a tax increase to do the building project and won't need to borrow money. The township has 28,000 residents.
“The additions have been budgeted, and we can always do more later,” Mazzoni said.
Cranberry bought the building, housed in a former cold-rolled steel foundry, in 1988 and renovated it into a municipal building that also houses district offices for state legislators.
It is the site for hundreds of activities and programs sponsored by the township's Department of Parks and Recreation.
Steve Smith of Mars, who used to live in Cranberry and still works there, played basketball in the municipal building. So did his sons.
“This building really is a nice resource,” Smith said while visiting the library.
Mark Malick, a longtime Cranberry resident who now lives in Sewickley, says he admires the way the building was converted.
“I am a big fan of reusing existing space, which is what was done here. I imagine that when they redo the heating and air conditioning, the building will be more green,” he said.
Peter Geis, Cranberry's director of parks and recreation, says the expansion will allow the department to expand the preschool it runs.
“We will experience the largest impact from the renovation. Right now, we have 150 programs and run most of them out of the community center,” Geis said.
In addition to the preschool, the department runs an after-school program and this school year has added a before-school program.
Among its other programs are early education, kinder gym, fitness, basketball, teen dances, a baby-sitting class and dance classes.
Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.