Construction is underway in Cayuga, Ont. on Haldimand County’s new Central Administration Building, a project designed in part to enhance customer service and maximize operational efficiencies.
Once the building opens, county staff will, for the first time, be housed under one roof, rather than located in multiple satellite offices. Currently, the county maintains four administration buildings. The Caledonia building, which is leased, costs taxpayers more than $240,000 annually in rent. The other buildings are nearing the end of their useful life and require significant capital improvements, states the county.
“The design is pragmatic, cost-effective and supports the advancement of our corporate pillars; beyond that it’s a space that residents can be proud of,” said Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt.
Designed by Thier+Curran Architects Inc. of Hamilton, the 42,900-square-foot, three-storey building is being constructed by Matheson Constructors Ltd. of Aurora.
The estimated construction cost is $15.5 million.
Construction got underway May 25 at the north end of the Cayuga Memorial Arena site on Thorburn Street South. Completion is scheduled by fall 2019.
Phil Mete, general manager of public works and Central Administration project co-lead, said a major challenge will be maintaining adequate parking and access to the existing arena.
Primary building materials include a concrete foundation, steel frame and precast structure and a stone/brick/prefinished panel veneer. The building’s design and floorplan are intended to enhance customer experience and accessibility, the county explained.
Key features include an open-concept layout and flexible design with space for future growth. The configuration is expected to improve internal communication, expedite workflow processes and enhance problem-solving among staff teams, the county said.
Currently, the county has a staff of 176.
Council chambers, which have been designated as the building’s focal point, will be accessible from the main floor foyer. The layout will accommodate overflow crowds. The building has been designed to achieve LEED Silver certification.
“At its best, civic government is transparent, accessible and engaging to the community,” said Bill Curran, a principal in Thier+Curran Architects. “It is these values that we have sought to incorporate in this building.”
Plans for a new building and municipal service delivery model have been in the development stages since 2015, following a review. The focus was on enhancing customer service, maximizing administrative and operational efficiencies and ensuring long-term cost effectiveness.
After detailed analysis and community consultation, a consolidated service model — involving construction of a new administration building — was selected.
The building’s proposed design and budget received unanimous council approval in late August of last year.
The project is being undertaken by a team that includes structural and civil engineers Strik Baldinelli Moniz, a firm with offices near London and Waterloo, and mechanical/ electrical engineers Jain Sustainability Consultants Inc. of Mississauga. Landscape architects are PMA Landscape Architects of Toronto.
“Speaking for the design team of about 50 people across seven firms that helped mould this important county building, we are very excited to see this product of all our planning and hard work enter the construction phase,” Curran said.
In all, five bids were received by Haldimand County from pre-qualified contractors. Matheson Constructors was the lowest bidder that met all necessary prerequisites, the county said.
“We look forward to working with the municipality and their design partners to deliver a high-quality project that will be a focal point of the community,” said Mike Brown, director of business development at Matheson.
Haldimand County is located in the Niagara Peninsula in southern Ontario. Cayuga is the county seat.