Derry Township community center delayed; pool may be closed an extra summer


The bids for the new Derry Township community center came in millions of dollars over budget. 

Planners were looking forward to the new center opening in the summer of 2020, but now the project will be delayed at least a few months. That means community members will likely go two summers without a pool.

“Where we go from here is to sit and regroup and really rework the project,” said Susan Cort, the chairperson of the Derry Township Board of Supervisors. “It’s way too early to speculate what’s going to have to come out of the new version of the community center.”

The township put a $32 million price tag on the project. About $2 million has already been spent on preparation and architectural fees.

But the bid package for construction came in at more than $37 million. So, that’s already $39 million, without interest.

The board voted down the bid package this week.

“We think that one of the main factors may have been that the construction industry, in general, seems very, very busy right now,” said Cort.

Derry Township didn’t get as many construction bids as it thought it would. But some think that was the only problem. 

“I have a lot of project construction business myself at my full-time job, and given the design of this new complex, I thought to keep it under $32 million was a bit of a dream,” said Lou Paioletti, the township’s tax collector who has lived in the area for more than 50 years.

The controversial project is being paid for with money from taxpayers, grants, and fundraising.

“I think it’s important to reflect on the events that occurred to date, figure out what worked, what didn’t work, not point any fingers,” said Paioletti. “We need to all work together.”

Original plans included renovating indoor and outdoor pools and adding an extra pool, gym, fitness center and track. 

“We’re certainly going to be keeping the public informed,” said Cort.

The timeline for the changes and future construction haven’t yet been determined, but construction is expected to take more than a year. 

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