Shovels will hit the ground Thursday morning, marking the beginning of the construction of Montgomery Township's Recreation and Community Center at Stump and Horsham roads.

The groundbreaking is set for 8 a.m. Thursday. The public is invited to the event.

Parking is at the Montgomery Township Administration Building. Light refreshments will be served after the ceremony.

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According to township Public Information Coordinator Kelsey McMeans, the ceremony marks three years of effort by township officials, committee members and staff to bring a multi-purpose recreation center to residents.

The 40,000-square-foot facility boasts a multi-use gymnasium, two basketball courts, a suspended indoor walking/running track, a weight room, three exercise studios, community rooms, classrooms, youth lounges, a catering kitchen, cafes, an outdoor playground and spray park, and an administration suite. A Montgomery County Public Library Bookmobile station will be constructed outside.

The project is funded by $7,875,250 in bonds and $1.497 million from the capital reserve fund.

Last year, the township increased its indebtedness by $8.745 million through a bond sale. It also refunded a $5.5 million general obligation bond from 2012. The first annual principal payment is $200,000 on June 1. The final principal payment would be in 2043 in the amount of $470,000.

Montgomery Township settled on the property across from the administration building in Spring 2012. Soon after, Conshohocken-based Kimmel Bogrette Architecture + Site and Colorado-based recreation consultant Ballard*King  & Associates were brought on to layout and design the building.

E.R. Stuebner was awarded the $7.185 million base bid for the general construction contract, which was bid with a series of options. E.R. Stuebner will construct a $55,000 extended walking trail, four folding basketball hoops at $21,000, gym skylights for $28,000, sanitary sewer connections for $61,000, extended sanitary connections at $15,000 and a $66,000 12-inch loop water main.

Lenni Electric will be the electrical contractor on the project, with the award of a $919,986 bid. Apex Plumbing will handle the plumbing and fire protection work in the building, winning a $309,500 and a $99,000 contract, respectively. The mechanical construction contract went to Worth & Co. at $530,000.