The Montgomery County Intermediate Unit (MCIU) may soon be in the market for a new home.
A report submitted to the MCIU board by its facilities committee on Wednesday evening recommends that the agency, which works with the county's school districts to provide education services to students with special needs, begin looking for a new facility to replace the squat, grey complex of buildings it currently occupies on Ridge Pike in West Norriton.
Upper Moreland School Board president David Hakes, who serves on the facilities committee, said the committee determined that obtaining and outfitting a new property would be less expensive than making about $14 million in necessary repairs and upgrades to the existing buildings.
Hakes named an aging HVAC system, numerous roof leaks, and the need to make the building ADA-compliant among the items that would need to be addressed for the agency to remain at its current location.
"Even if we make those improvements, we still have issues with this building. There's not enough parking, it's not a convenient location, there's not enough space to provide services. We could provide a lot more services if we had better organized space than what exists in this building," Hakes said.
Hakes said the ability to provide more services at a new location would also increase the agency's revenue.
"That's the theory," Hakes said.
The facilities committee's recommendation to the MCIU board is not binding.
"The [MCIU] board has to decide whether to take that recommendation [to pursue a new property]," Hakes said. "The board has to review all that, see if it makes sense, see what's available, and how we're going to fund it."
How much of the cost of a new facility would be borne by the county's school districts is not yet clear. Only about 17 percent of the MCIU's annual operational budget of about $8 million is funded by the membership and service fees paid by the county's participating school districts. The remainder comes from various public and private grants and subsidies.