GDC staff set to shift for new year upgrade

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Gore District Council chief executive Steve Parry has been overseeing plans to move council staff out of the administration building into the James Cumming Wing while a $5 million makeover happens. PHOTO:SANDY EGGLESTON

All going well the $5 million upgrade of the Gore District Council’s administration building will be under way in the new year.

The upgrade has been flagged in the council’s 10-year-plan since 2009.

Chief executive Steve Parry said tenders had been called for the upgrade.

“We’re planning to have the results of those tender invitations before council in November,” Mr Parry said.

Provided there was a suitable tender, one would be chosen at that meeting and then staff would start shifting to the James Cumming Wing.

“We will have a vacant council administration building for the contractor by Christmas.”

Subject to councillors accepting a tender next month, the plan is for staff to start moving the last week in November but staff were already planning the shift.

“There’s a mini floor plan developed on the basis this is how it will take place.”

It was expected staff would work out of the wing for most of 2020.

“By October/November we are scheduled to move back into our renovated premises.”

It was concluded staff could not stay in the building while the work was being completed.

“You’ve got asbestos removal, a roof being replaced, you’ve got extensive renovations in terms of new windows, new cladding.

“It really is a big makeover.”

An extension would also be built over the top of the southern car park to provide more office space.

“Our current building is too small.”

Moving out was the safer and more efficient option.

“We’re probably going to save four months on the job with the contractor having an empty building to attack.”

About 40 staff would be temporarily moved to both floors of the wing.

There would be little disruption to council services.

However, the main reception will be closed on December 2 while customer service staff move. The reception will reopen in the James Cumming Wing foyer on December 3.

Council meetings would be held in the James Cumming Wing lecture theatre from next year.

The building was long overdue for some remedial work.

“The existing building has not been modified or extended since it was built in the 1960s, apart from the new council chamber and foyer added in 1994.”

From October 25 the wing was no longer available for hire.

Regular users of the wing had been inconvenienced by no longer being able to meet there, he said. “We have been working with them and have offered to help them find new premises.”

There has been no negative feedback from users to date, he said.

A makeover was also scheduled for the wing.

“There is a bit of silver lining in the cloud in that once we relocate out of the James Cumming Wing, the wing will be available to be given a facelift before it’s then returned back to normal community use.”