Civic Plaza to be gutted next week

A Synergy Building Solutions worker erects a sign on the construction fence outside Civic Plaza Thursday afternoon. The $3.5 million renovation project is set to begin Monday with the demolition of the interior of the 40-year old facility. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

By Staff

Morinville – A six-foot tall fence was erected in front of Civic Plaza on 100 Street Thursday, a harbinger of the work that is set to begin in earnest Monday morning when St. Albert-based Synergy Building Solutions starts demolishing the interior of the 40-year old building in preparation for a new town hall and library facility.

Although final interior architectural plans are not 100 per cent completed, delineating just where everything will go in the grand scheme of things, preliminary work will involve gutting the interior to make way for the installation of a new heating / ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC) as well as the extension of the front of the building to where the existing pillars are. The latter retrofit will provide additional space for the Morinville Public Library which is also getting a facelift as part of the project.

One of the challenges facing ONPA Architects, the firm employed by Morinville to design the renovated Civic Plaza, is working around two existing vaults from the days when the building housed a bank and the facility’s existing mechanical room and elevator shaft.

Morinville’s Chief Financial Officer Andy Isbister said it is possible the project could be completed sometime between late November and Christmas.

Close quarters

While work is being done on the building, Town staff previously housed on both floors of Civic Plaza, are sharing the basement of the Morinville RC Parish Hall along with staff from the Morinville Public Library who also have a greatly truncated space to work in. Library programs are being conducted in the meeting rooms of the Morinville Community Cultural Centre. During the Civic Plaza renovations, the weekly farmer’s market will take place in the Parish Hall parking lot.

Borrowed funding

Town Council gave unanimous second and third reading May 24 to a borrowing bylaw that permitted the town to borrow up to $2,875,000 to upgrade St. Germain Plaza, home of the Morinville Town Offices and the Morinville Public Library.
Renovation of the Civic Plaza building was approved last December in the 2011 budget; however, the original estimate of $2.5 million was increased to $3.5 million when a more concrete assessment of the project was completed this spring. Of that figure, $675,000 in project funding will come through the Alberta Municipal Infrastructure Program, leaving a potential $2,875,000 to be borrowed and repaid over the next decade and a half. The interest rate would be locked for the full 15 years. The $3.5 million figure includes costs associated with relocating staff and services during the renovation project.

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