By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Soon after Morinville’s St. Germain Plaza, home of the library and town offices, was gutted, St. Albert-based Synergy Building Solutions erected some orange tarps behind their construction fence and got down to the real work – converting the 30-year-old building into one that can carry the community through the next three decades.
Although the building has housed the library and town offices for some years, it was originally designed as a Commercial Retail Unit (CRU). Making the now 30-year-old building fit the needs of a community whose population has grown by 11 per cent in the past two years alone presented architects with a number of challenges, namely fitting more library space and more office space into a building that has not grown along with the community.
Claude Valcourt, Morinville’s director of public works said the bottom floor will be extended on the front of the building to run flush with a second-story overhang, an increase of about 11 feet to the north. A similar renovation will be made to an overhang on the back of the building, extending it 12 feet. When completed, Valcourt said the building will consist of two 900-square metre floors, the lower floor will continue to house the Morinville Public Library and Multi Media Centre, the upper for town offices and council chambers, the latter of which is being moved to the north face of the building overlooking 100 Avenue and St. Jean Baptiste Park. The lower floor will have a large entrance foyer which will contain public washrooms and a lounge area for the library.
The $3.2 million renovation project was deemed necessary to give the Town and library better use of existing space. Although both can look forward to increased room once they leave the RC Parish Hall, that move will be happening a little later than hoped. In September, it was anticipated the renovations would be completed in December; however, Valcourt now estimates completion will take place at the end of March.
The delay, Valcourt said Wednesday, was due to a decision to extend the north west corner of the building further north beyond where the main north extension will be. That necessitated some consultations with Alberta Transportation who make determinations on what can and cannot be done on 100 Avenue (Highway 642).
ONPA Architects’ head architect on the project, Chris Woollard, said there were no major snags on the project to account for the delay from his end, and that work is progressing nicely. Electrical and mechanical components will begin to be installed Monday.
The buildings heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is being completely redesigned to offer better performance and more energy efficiency. Woollard said the system will consist of two roof top units and radiant water heating in the ceilings around the perimeter of the building. Both the library and Town offices have been plagued with an HVAC system that was hot in summer and cold in winter. Woollard said the addition of energy efficient windows and an efficient building envelope system has allowed the project to downsize the mechanical system.
Attractive design planned
Below are architectural renderings of the project courtesy of ONPA Architects and the Town of Morinville