Owen Sound is now “really close” to finishing its $8.7-million project to renovate city hall, says the city’s manager of property.
But Kristan Shrider said she doesn’t want to estimate when the downtown building will be move-in ready.
“There are so many moving targets to it right now, so all along we’ve said we’re doing everything that we can in order to get in there as quickly as possible. And we’re not going to compromise on quality of work or anything like that,” she said Monday in an interview.
“I can’t say 100 per cent that we’ll be in next week or in two weeks. I’m just going to cross my fingers and everything is lining up really well right now and things are looking good. But I’m not going to target a date to it just in case.”
Shrider said a few “critical items” must be completed before city staff can move back into the building.
The contractor is still waiting for metal doors and locks to be delivered, she said, and some glass work has to be finished up in the new meeting room additions.
“The lead time on some of those items is longer and we need those in order to gain occupancy,” she said.
The city is expecting final inspections and approvals for the building’s elevator and fire alarm and suppression systems will happen this week or next week.
Renovations to city hall began in spring 2017. At that time, the city’s anticipated substantial completion date was set as March 31.
It has been pushed back several times since then.
The discovery and required abatement of more asbestos and mould than was originally anticipated was one of the reasons why the project fell behind schedule early on.
The renovation project has involved replacing all of the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, heating/cooling and fire alarm systems in the 53-year-old city hall.
The crawlspace was excavated of sand to accommodate archive storage, a records management system and the building’s mechanical and electrical systems.
Glassed-in, modern boardrooms were also added to both the front and back of the building.
The renovated city hall will meet current accessibility standards and include a new elevator and windows as well as insulation for the exterior walls. It will also feature a modern office environment and be more energy efficient, according to city hall.
Once construction is considered substantially completed, staff will start moving back into the building from the temporary location of city hall inside the Professional Centre. It will take about a week and a half to relocate all 50 or so staff – along with all of their files and equipment – to the renovated building.
Shrider said crews are working long days and weekends to wrap up the project. Most of the inside work is complete.
She said the project remains on budget and the city has not compromised on quality of work or materials.
“Everybody’s going to be very, very pleased with the end result of this project. That’s for sure. Staff are going to have a great environment to work in and the public is really going to enjoy it when they come either to visit city hall or have a meeting there,” she said.