HomeVoorhees NewsIt’s a dump, but it’s home

It’s a dump, but it’s home


A few weeks ago you saw the good, as The Voorhees Sun took you on a tour of the new municipal building at the Voorhees Town Center. Now you’re going to see the bad and the ugly all mixed up into one mildew-infested, leaky, floor-collapsing building.

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Township employees are counting down the days until the big move, as the entire municipal hall will move into its brand-spanking new digs at the Voorhees Town Center. They will be leaving behind a municipal facility that includes offices in a “temporary” trailer that has been at the site since 1985 (it’s old enough to legally drink at this point) and saggy floors that have already collapsed under one employee.

The municipal property is a mix of aged buildings with dingy storage areas that would serve well as the setting for any horror movie. Underneath the town hall is even the location of an old police station that was once used by the township before the new department was built next door. It features several holding cells that now serve as a storage area for old township documents.

Also, adding to the property’s unique charm is wood paneling as far as the eye can see. Almost every building is decorated with the faux wood walls. Township Administrator Larry Spellman joked that employees are demanding that the panelling be moved into the new town center.

In reality the whole complex is a mess, Spellman said, and the move date of May 13 can’t come soon enough. If all goes according to plan, Spellman said the new town hall would be open on Monday, May 16, at 8 a.m. The day before, the entire staff of the new town hall will be brought into the facility to make sure everything is working and operational for the next business day.

But until then, the employees will have to make due in an increasingly deteriorating municipal hall. Recently, after a bad rainstorm, one of the women’s bathrooms in the trailer on site had to be condemned.

Couple that with a safer work environment and it’s a win-win for the township. In the past year and a half there have been two major injuries at the municipal hall due to poor work conditions. One came after an employee was walking down a wooden ramp that leads up to vital statistics during a snowstorm.

The ramp is notoriously difficult to keep free of ice, Spellman said, and the employee fell and seriously injured her leg.

“At this point in time it would actually cost more to fix this building than it is to move to the town center and build a new one,” Committee Member Harry Platt said, who toured the old municipal building with this intrepid reporter.

He’s not kidding. To completely repair the current municipal hall — making everything ADA compliant, repairing roofs, fixing floors — it would cost the township more than $5.5 million. To move the hall to the town center it will cost about $6.1, but will be offset by the sale of the current hall’s property, which is evaluated at $2.5 million.

Four to five companies have already called about possibly purchasing the property, Spellman said. The township can actually hold onto the property for two years before it has to make a bond payment for the new town center, Spellman said, so it can wait for the market to improve and receive a better sale price.

Joe Hale, municipal inspector, said it would be a great move for the township and the residents it serves. Hale shares a cramped room with several other employees and boxes of blue prints.

“It’s a great use of the existing infrastructure to make a viable town center,” he said.

But until May 13 the employees of Voorhees Township will have to brave the mildew smell, collapsing floors, and combustible bathrooms of the municipal hall.


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