Design of Montgomery Municipal Center, Fueled by Robust Community Input, Reflects Township’s History and Identity

Design of Montgomery Municipal Center, Fueled by Robust Community Input, Reflects Township’s History and Identity 789 444 DMR Architects

DMR Architects conceived the design for the new Montgomery Municipal Center to reflect the township’s identity as a close-knit suburban community with deep agricultural roots while providing a state-of-the-art facility that will serve the future needs of the community and administration.

The 62,000 SF building opened last summer delivering offices for Montgomery Township’s police headquarters and administration, a new branch of the Somerset County Library System, and the council chambers arranged around a central common public lobby.

It is unique in not only its design, hearkening back to old barns and farm structures, but also in its purposes and function, with connected spaces for municipal, library and community programs under one roof. The project was borne from a collaborative approach that included input from municipal and county voices, as well as more than 200 residents.

“The new municipal center has been planned to serve as a community gathering place, something that the township has long sought,” said Montgomery Mayor Devra Keenan.  “This is not just a building to us; it is a representation of Montgomery’s collaborative spirit and pride of place.”

The design takes cues from agrarian architecture with contemporary material choices, seen through the gable roof, stone exterior, metal roofing, wood siding, heavy timber canopies and abundance of glass. The result reflected the collective pride of Montgomery’s elected officials and residents so effectively that the building design was incorporated into an updated municipal seal.

“There is a distinct shift in attitudes away from building utilitarian municipal facilities that are seen as a place people ‘have to go to’. Trends are moving toward providing residents with a location that is more welcoming and engaging to the community,” said Kurt Vierheilig, Director of Design and Partner. “It’s important to a project’s success to work in unison with residents, county and municipal leaders. The spirit of collaboration was strong at all levels and the final product is something we are all proud of and that will be used for many generations.”

Hackensack Mellone – Mariniello Recreation Center Opens

Hackensack Mellone – Mariniello Recreation Center Opens 789 444 DMR Architects

Today marks the first day of programs at the Mellone – Mariniello (M&M) Recreation Center in Hackensack, giving residents access to a recent redesign and expansion that addresses the community’s need for current athletic, meeting and activity space.

The project took an existing 8,000 square foot building and renovated and expanded the facility into a 22,000 square foot facility that now includes an expanded 400-seat basketball arena, a new senior center, a new lobby and three multipurpose rooms.

“DMR’s plans will allow us to host more athletic team practices and games, offer parents an after-school program for their elementary and middle school-aged kids, and give retired seniors a better location for classes and activities,” Mayor John Labrosse said.

“The 21st century community center is a destination where people can often spend several hours meeting with friends, learning new skills, and enjoying team sports all in one place,” Lloyd Rosenberg, AIA, President and CEO, said. “Places like Hackensack are rethinking their current recreation spaces, not just for its residents’ needs now, but with flexibility to continue to meet these needs over the next generation of users.”

The facility also offers community meeting and classroom spaces, new restroom facilities, a snack bar, storage area, and an office for the center’s administration.

DMR Redefines Fitness Facilities to Encompass 21st Century Uses

DMR Redefines Fitness Facilities to Encompass 21st Century Uses 789 444 DMR Architects

DMR is designing 21st-Century fitness spaces throughout North Jersey to support not just the physical well-being of the communities we serve, but also the mental and social well-being, with modern spaces in schools, community centers and sports facilities.

DMR’s designs reflect the needs for all ages including safe after-school programs for children, extensive exercise options for adults, and places for seniors to meet up or take classes.

“Our clients are looking for spaces to get people out of their homes—away from their computers and game consoles—so that they can get back to face-to-face interactions,” Lloyd Rosenberg, AIA, President and CEO, said.  “Technology is great for so many things, but it can’t replace the physical and mental benefits of sports and fitness, and shared experiences with your neighbors.”

DMR’s current portfolio includes the following physical fitness facilities:

Public Community Center

DMR’s plans for the renovation and expansion of the M&M Building Community Center at 116 Holt St. in Hackensack encompass converting the existing 8,000 square foot one-story building with 24-foot ceilings into a two-story structure, and the addition of 14,000 square feet to accommodate a new lobby on the first floor and a multi-purpose gymnasium on the second floor.  Plans addressed the city’s need for more space to accommodate for more athletic team practices and game spaces, an after-school program for elementary and middle school-aged kids, and classes and activities for retired seniors.

The first floor will offer community meeting and classroom spaces, new restroom facilities, a snack bar, storage area, an office for the center’s administration, and elevator for access to the second floor.  In addition to the new gymnasium space, the second floor will have more meeting and classroom space, two offices, a kitchen and restrooms.

Renovations to convert this underutilized building into a center of activity are expected to be completed in summer 2019.

Private Community Center

DMR repurposed the former NBA Nets training facility at 390 Murry Hill Parkway in East Rutherford into an 83,200-square-foot Meadowlands Area YMCA which answers the needs of today’s health-conscious population in a modern accessible environment.

Using the building’s already-existing NBA-grade basketball courts as the facilities focal point, DMR converted the rest of the building, previously used for offices, into spaces traditionally expected at a YMCA including an expansive fitness center with Technogym cardio machines, an aquatic with a six-lane, Olympic-sized competition pool, and daycare at the Mara Center for Early Childhood Learning, with modern add-ons like informal meeting spaces throughout the building, group exercise classes, and education space for students and adults of all ages, mental and fitness levels.

The Meadowlands Area YMCA is the first centralized location for the organization’s 15,000 members from eight municipalities in almost a century.  It opened in 2017.

Indoor Athletic Facility

DMR’s plans will convert a currently vacant 2.5-acre lot on Meadowlands Parkway in Secaucus into a 51,750 square foot indoor sports facility for the Town of Secaucus to fill the recreation department’s gap in adequate centralized space for group youth and adult sports activities, training and league competitions in sports including football, soccer, wrestling and lacrosse.

In addition to a 24,3000-square foot synthetic turf field that can be divided into up to four fields, the new facility will include administration offices, lockers, a convenience stand, storage, and bleachers with a forced air heating system.

Construction on the project will start in summer 2019 and is expected to be completed in summer 2020.

Educational Athletic Facility

Students at the newly-opened Frank J. Gargiulo Campus in Secaucus are taking physical education and elective classes that rival options more likely found at a spa or private club with its 12,000-square foot gymnasium complemented by indoor spaces for yoga, dance, cross fit training, cycling, Martial arts, weight training, and climbing.  The school’s campus includes a paved outdoor path for walking and running with fitness stations throughout the path.

The design team included numerous professionals who paid special care to keep the fitness areas separate from each other and the rest of the school, employing a sound engineer to ensure that sound and vibrations from one area of the school do not affect the utilization of other areas.

Space was also dedicated to faculty to encourage their use of the exercise options with locker rooms separate from those used by students, complete with showers and saunas.

Meadowlands YMCA expected to create jobs, serve 20,000

Meadowlands YMCA expected to create jobs, serve 20,000 960 540 DMR Architects

Meadowlands YMCA Rendering

A rendering is shown as people begin to gather prior to the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Meadowlands Area YMCA in East Rutherford on Thursday, July 28, 2016. (Photo: Mitsu Yasukawa/Staff Photographer)

by Linda Moss

With its new home set to open early next year, the Meadowlands Area YMCA will create more than 100 full-time and part-time jobs and be able to serve 20,000 more people than the organization does now, an official said on Thursday.

Jane Egan, president and chief executive of the YMCA, offered an update on the renovation of the former headquarters and training center of the Nets basketball team. The building will become an 83,200-square-foot community center for her organization. Egan addressed about 80 people, including many local and Bergen County officials, during a construction ceremony at the former practice facility at 390 Murray Hill Parkway.

Once the renovation work is complete, the Meadowlands YMCA, known as the “Y Without Walls” because it hasn’t had a central location for 96 years, will finally have a full-service center with the two existing NBA-grade basketball courts; a daycare center; a wellness center; exercise and dance studios; teen and senior citizen centers; a theater; technology labs; a rock-climbing wall; a food concession; and a retail shop.

The new YMCA facility “will be a beacon to the community, a center that encourages health, supports families, invites diversity and responds to the many needs of the community,” Egan said.

The second phase of the work includes construction of a 9,600-square-foot aqua center with a competition pool, which will be added to the main building. The YMCA is awaiting zoning approvals from the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority for the pool, and still needs to raise the $3 million to $3.5 million that it will cost to build through its capital campaign, Egan said.

“We do need to make sure we have the capacity and the finances to do that part of the project,” Egan said. “The best-case scenario is that the pool phase would be a couple of months behind the main part of the building. It may be six months behind. It may be a year behind. It may be two or three years behind depending on our ability to raise the funds.”

Originally, the YMCA projected that it would cost about $7 million to revamp the Nets’ facility, including the cost of the pool. But that overall estimate rose to $9 million when it was discovered that more alterations would have to be made to the Nets’ building than originally anticipated, Egan said.

The YMCA will be hiring more than 100 people for the new facility, full- and part-time, adding to the organization’s existing 300-employee staff, Egan said. And with the large new center the YMCA will be able to serve 32,000 people a year, up from 12,000 now, she said.

Currently the YMCA operates programs out of more than 50 locations in such towns as East Rutherford, North Arlington, Wood-Ridge, Wallington, Lyndhurst, Maywood, Haskell, Little Ferry, Edgewater and Hasbrouck Heights.

At the event, officials donned yellow construction helmets and wielded sledge hammers at the Nets’ building, which has been gutted and isn’t air conditioned, to symbolically mark the next stage of the renovation.

That group included Egan; YMCA Chairman Ron Simoncini; state Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Wood-Ridge; Bergen County Executive James Tedesco; East Rutherford Mayor James Cassella; Wayne Hasenbalg, president of the Sports and Exposition Authority; and James Kirkos, president and chief executive officer of the Meadowlands Regional Chamber.

The YMCA’s day care center is named after the Mara family, financed with a gift from John Mara, president and chief executive of the New York Giants.
The Nets left East Rutherford to move to the new $50 million Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The YMCA had purchased a warehouse in East Rutherford not far from the Nets practice center for $5.3 million in December 2012, intending to use that for its home. But the organization decided to move into the Nets building instead when it became available, and sold the warehouse earlier this year for $6.2 million.

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