The Warminster Board of Supervisors held a special work session meeting Thursday night to discuss the future of the .
Discussed at the meeting were several possible options for the parks department and its many programs, most of which are currently housed at the WREC.
The board stressed that no decision had to be made during the meeting - and one was not - but discussions about the future of the WREC would be an on-going process as the township begins to work on next year’s budget.
Township Manager Richard Manfredi asked, “Do we continue at status quo … or do we look at alternatives?”
If the township decides to vacate the 50-year-old building, the two tenants - Time for Tots and Memorable Affairs - who rent space in the building and pay more than $100,000 in yearly rent, would have to be given six months notice before they must leave the building, according to Manfredi.
The WREC building, which is just over 60,000-square-feet, will need between $400,000 and $1 million dollars of roof work completed in the next few years. In the years following, other major capital projects on the building will have to be completed, Warminster Parks and Recreation Director Karen Whitney said.
Former tenants Bucks IU, Head Start, Berkheimer and BARC, and the township will likely not be able to replace them due to the condition of the facilities, Manfredi said citing the counsel of a realtor and architect.
If the township wanted to close the WREC, sell it, or tear it down, they would most likely need to purchase the reversionary interest clause that was included in the deed by the Centennial School District when the township took over the building in 1988. Solicitor Mary Eberle told the board she has talked to the district’s lawyer and they have no intention to drop the reversionary interest, but the district could purchase it.
Residents who live near the WREC voiced concern about what would happen to the opening space at the property if it were to be sold to a builder.
Another option floated during Thursday's meeting would keep the WREC open for another year with no capital expenditures. The hope would be that the tenants would stay for another year and more time could be sought to make a final decision on the fate of the building.
Manfredi stated the goal is to not dip into the Parks and Recreation Department’s reserve fund to pay for building cost. Those cost have mostly been payed for by revenue brought in by tenants - many of which left last year - and through cost cutting by Whitney.
One of the many other options discussed was constructing a new community center, similar to the Upper Southampton Community Center, on the grounds of the 243 acre . The new building has been estimated to cost between $6 and $7 million dollars.
Chairman Leo Quinn said he did not want to build a new community center if it were to raise taxes in the township.
Warminster and the Centennial School District are currently engaged in talks about moving township programs to the schools located in the township as a short-term answer if the WREC is closed, Manfredi said.
Manfredi said the talks are preliminary and at the next township meeting he hopes to have more information to present.
More discussions on the WREC issue is planned over the next few months, officials said.