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- by Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

As we prepared to walk through the Owen Sound city hall renovation, Kristan Shrider, the City's Manager of Property, said "From a project manager's perspective, there are three elements to any project. The budget, the schedule, and the quality of the end product."

As of now, the renovations are on budget - $8,695,754 according the the Frequently Asked Questions available on the city's website. Changes have been made along the way, including removing items not required by the building hallwaycode (including sprinklers) and aesthetic elements like the green patio off the second-floor meeting rooms.

The quality of the end product, by all signs, will be just as planned. The building will be secure, accessible, energy-efficient, welcoming to visitors and the staff will have better air quality, light, temperature control and simple amenities like a staff room bigger than a closet.

The schedule is the one element on which they were willing to be flexible for the sake of the other two.

As of our Wednesday walk-through, the date for substantial completion remained at August 31, but even Shrider admitted that was unlikely. Sequencing of the elements appropriately is crucial. The locally-made stone ceiling from Ledgerock is scheduled to arrive August 20, and – wisely, I think – the glass in the entranceways and the meeting rooms above them is not going to be installed before that stone is in.

The other main hold up is doors. The manufacturers are four to five months behind in production, and their customers include school boards who have very little flexibility on time. The solution may be to get delivery on only the most crucial doors (for security and fire protection), or purchase some temporary doors if appropriate.

The lower level is where most of the extra floor space within the existing footprint was gained, when a former crawl space was excavated. This level contains a large room with furniture that can be rearranged into a training space or boardroom table. It also has the engineering "bull pen" where large blueprints can be laid out, by-law, parking, and IT departments, the staff room and showers, vault and records management space.

mayorsofficeThe main floor, accessed by an AODA-compliant elevator as are the other three levels, has corporate services (taxes, water bills, tickets), community services, building, planning and engineering departments. Access control including visitor sign-ins will be implemented for the first time.

The top floor includes two new glassed-in meeting rooms with great views of the river and downtown, the offices of the mayor, city manager and senior managers, and the city council chamber itself. The chamber will be a few inches smaller all around than its former self, allowing for insulation for the first time.

The week to ten days for move-in for the 50 or so staff who will be working in city hall will be determined when firm delivery dates are in place on critical items. The installation of furniture and the IT infrastructure will be the first order of business when occupation is permitted.

Shrider thinks that staff and the public will be very happy with the end result. The building will be more attractive and much more energy-efficient to operate.

She has read the years of reports of the inadequacies and inefficiencies of the 1965 building. She wants people in the future, looking at the 2018 work, to say "Those people chose good elements; this is quality work."


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