The Gore District Council will begin a major redevelopment of its main office early in the New Year.
Councillors this week accepted tenders totalling just under $6 million for the project. This includes $1.72 million worth of work to contractors based in the Gore District, as well as a $465,500 contingency.
Ajax Builders has been awarded the building component of the contract, while six other Gore companies pick up contracts for work such as decorating, timber joinery and roofing. The project will be managed by Signal Management Group, a Dunedin-based company the Council has had a long relationship with going back to the construction of the Gore Aquatic Centre.
The redevelopment of the Bowler Avenue office was first flagged in the Council’s 10-Year-Plan in 2009. The new building will feature open plan office space over two floors, an extension over the existing southern carpark, meetings rooms and a customer-friendly reception area.
The project is scheduled to start on 20 December when security fencing will be erected around the construction site. The removal of asbestos will begin in early January.
The project completion date is 27 November 2020.
Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks said the project was an investment in the future of the District.
”This is the most significant project the Council has undertaken during my time.”
With the project funded by loan, Mr Hicks said he appreciated there may be concerns about the Council’s level of debt.
“I can assure residents the Council is being prudent about where and how it spends ratepayer’s money.”
It was hard committing this level of funding on behalf of ratepayers, but leadership is about making those decisions for this generation and generations to come, Mr Hicks said.
The new building will ensure the Council meets the expectations of today’s customers, and give it the ability to deliver an efficient, effective service by embracing better use of technology and space, Mr Hicks said.
Chief Executive Stephen Parry said the existing building had not been modified since it was built in the 1960s, apart from the new Council chamber and foyer added in 1994, and was long overdue for an upgrade.
Since it was first mooted, the project had grown as the shortcomings of the building magnified and multiplied.
These shortcomings include the need for earthquake strengthening and removal of asbestos, inefficient design, cramped working conditions, and an inadequate reception area.
“If that is not enough, the building is also very tired in appearance both internally and externally. “
The Council had considered a new building on the existing site and a joint venture with a private sector company for the construction of a new building in Main Street. However, these were more costly than the option accepted, Mr Parry said.
The total project cost is $6.12 million. This figure includes staff relocation and seismic assessment costs.
The use of local contractors as much as possible was important to the Council, Mr Parry said.
Of the 25 tenders accepted on Tuesday, seven were from the Gore District and 13 from Southland. About 40 Council staff will relocate to the James Cumming Wing for the duration of the project.
The migration of first floor staff will start next week, with ground floor staff moving the following week. The main reception will be closed on Monday 2 December while customer service staff move. Other Council business will be unaffected.
From Tuesday 3 December the reception area will be located in the James Cumming Wing foyer, with the entrance off Ardwick Street. The existing entrance on Bowler Avenue will be closed to the public from Friday 29 November.
“We recognise the temporary relocation of staff has the potential to compromise our customer service over the next 12 months and ask the public to bear with us – it will be worth it.
“When it’s finished the new building will provide a superior customer experience,” Mr Parry said.
- Main office redevelopment total project cost $6,122,941.
- Tenders accepted by the Council on Tuesday total $5,997,941.14, which includes
contingencies of $465,500.
- Tenders accepted from 25 companies – seven based in Gore District, 13 based in Southland, five from outside the province.
- Tenders from Gore-based companies total $1.72m.
- Project start date is Friday 20 November with the erection of security fencing. Removal of asbestos to start on Monday 6 January 2020.
- Completion date 27 November 2020.
- About 40 main office staff will relocate to the James Cumming Wing, starting next week.
- The main reception will open in the James Cumming Wing foyer on Tuesday 4 December.
- The reception will be closed on Monday 3 December. Other Council businesses will be open.
- The existing entrance will be closed from 5.00pm Friday 29 November.