Montgomery Township cuts ribbon for new municipal complex, Somerset County Library

Montgomery Township officials at a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrated the completion and opening of the new Montgomery Civic Center.

The township has long awaited a new municipal seat and has not had a new building complex for decades.

Montgomery Township Mayor Devra Keenan, along with members of the Montgomery Township Committee, the New Jersey State Legislature and Somerset County officials, celebrated the new center June 16 at the location downtown, 100 Community Drive, Skillman.

“I want to thank the residents of Montgomery, who are some of the most dedicated citizen volunteers you will find in any community. This building is for you,” Keenan said. “It will become a wonderful place to participate in public meetings and serve on boards and commissions. This facility is designed for citizen engagement and transparency using all the technology of the day.

She added that the new center provides the community with a “gathering place”.

The comprehensive new complex spans over 62,000 square feet and includes a new Somerset County Library branch.

The library branch is 20,000 square feet. This new branch includes: small study rooms, a conference room, a children’s section, a lounge area for parents and occasional readers, and a soundproof studio for podcasting and recordings and lockers outside for after-hours book pickup via code. sent to a cellphone or device, according to officials.

The Town Council meeting room, library, and Montgomery Township Police Department are on the first floor of the building. The second floor contains all other municipal offices such as the engineering department.

There are 11 formal meeting rooms. The largest can accommodate 100 people.

According to Montgomery officials, the new civic center was designed by DMR Architects of Hasbrouk Heights and construction of the building complex was completed by Debco Inc. of Wayne.

“We have been working on this project for just over four years. Two and a half years of the design and development process and a year and a half of construction,” said Kurt Vierheilig, principal designer at DMR Architects. “I hope residents and visitors can appreciate the building for how it responds to Montgomery Township’s history, and then see it for its insight into what the future holds.”

The center is on a 45 acre site located at the corner of Route 206 and Orchard Road. The site, which was purchased by Somerset County for $5.9 million, once housed the offices of ConvaTec.

The new civic center was needed because the current civic building did not have enough space for employees and services, officials said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Montgomery’s population has grown from 7,360 in the 1980s to 23,502 in 2021.

“We are here to cut the ribbon for a beautiful, state-of-the-art library, police operations center and municipal offices designed to meet the township’s long-term needs,” Township Administrator Donato Nieman said. “Montgomery has grown into a sophisticated suburban municipality with a population of approximately 24,000 and responds to a facility that better serves its residents. The realization of this project is the end of a long journey.

Montgomery secured a 30-year, $35 million loan with an interest rate of 1.75% to fund the project through the Somerset County Improvement Authority (SCIA), a shared services program providing a mechanism alternative financing to municipalities.

The township will pay $1.9 million per year for the project loan.

“It’s moving to see so many community members from different sectors. From residents, current elected officials, former officials, county and state government officials, this was a joint project,” said MP Sadaf Jaffer (D-16). “We received a generous grant of over $5 million for the State Library and [it] shows that the state government supports libraries and comes together.

Some $5.37 million in state library funding was secured, which was used to build the new library.

“It really is a unique kind of investment in a community like Montgomery and we really tried to bring in as many perspectives as possible. I think it’s going to be a really wonderful space,” Jaffer said. “Coordination between Montgomery and Somerset County and state funding was essential for this new civic center project.”

The center also includes green spaces around the building, an events plaza and a rain garden.

Melissa C. Keyes