MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - County council has directed administration to prepare a project sheet, including cost estimates, for a possible renovation project on the county’s 18-year-old administrative building.
The move came by way of motion at the recent regularly scheduled council, held in person and online.
Located along Highway 2A between Olds and Didsbury, the administrative building houses council chambers, meeting rooms, service areas and office space for most of the municipality’s staff.
In a request for decision document brought before council on Sept. 20, administration outlined a proposed renovation project, with an estimated cost of $600,000.
Operational Services proposed that the renovations include removal of office furniture and cubicles, new carpet and finishes, repair and painting of all interior walls and door frames, replacement of lighting with LED energy efficient lights, replacement of the fire alarm system controls, and replacement of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system with an energy efficient system.
The proposed project would not include the purchase or installation of new cubicles or office furniture.
The project would take several months to complete and would result in some disruptions to the services the county currently provides to the public, council heard.
Ryan Morrison, director of operational services, spoke to council about the proposal, saying the cost projection is only an estimate.
“Administration has been tossing this (the renovation project proposal) around between themselves for quite some time,” said Morrison. “We’ve seen that the building is starting to show its age. We are approaching 20 years and we haven’t really done a lot of hard maintenance to the building.”
Some work has been done on the HVAC system and major repairs were undertaken on the exterior of the building a few years ago, he noted.
“What we are asking council direction on is us pursuing and doing a larger maintenance project to the county office,” he said. “We have a lot of carpet in the building that is just worn out. We want to do a whole building repair.”
Coun. Jennifer Lutz said, “This building is beautiful compared to so many different municipalities. I think this building is in pretty good shape.”
She said she would support efforts to make the building more energy efficient.
Coun. Peggy Johnson asked about the logistics of the renovation as it relates to removing furniture and cubicles. Morrison replied, “We are not planning on changing any workspaces in the building. There’s always going to be minor changes.”
Johnson said, “Certainly taxpayers in my area would support more long patching (on roadways) before they would support an upgrade to the building.”
Deputy reeve Greg Harris said, “My opinion is that with any kind of infrastructure, the longer you delay the more costly it becomes. It’s false economy to say we can let it go another two years, five years. Before you know it, it’s 10 and 15 years and stuff is breaking down.
“It make sense to do it when we are in a position to be able to do it. I think the efficiency and comfort of our employees is important. This building is important and we need to maintain it.”
Coun. Dwayne Fulton said, “I’m supportive of this, especially when we are talking about replacing lighting with more energy efficient lighting.”
There should be grant opportunities to help cover some of the project costs, he said.
Coun. Alan Miller said, “We need to keep our facility up. The last thing we need is water penetration coming in somewhere, moisture build up coming through.”
Maintaining the fire alarm system in the building is critically important, he said.
Coun. Gord Kreb said, “To me this is a pretty nice building, probably better than most businesses are working out of and they are using their own money to fix it. Got to remember we are spending other people’s money. I don’t think it is an urgent thing right now.”
Council carried a motion calling on administration to include a project sheet with itemized components for the proposed repairs and maintenance of the county administrative building in the 2024 budget deliberations.
Reeve Angela Aalbers said, “This is only the project sheet; we are not making a determination of spending any money at this point. This is only for deliberations.”
Council also instructed administration to set up a time for councillors to tour the building.
All council members were present at the Sept. 20 council meeting.