They didn’t smash a champagne bottle to christen the boardroom, but directors of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District were bubbly in their praise for the new waterfront headquarters.
Directors were present for the first board meeting in the new waterfront facility, which consolidates the CSRD staff from three separate offices under one 22,950 sq. ft. roof.
“It’s a pretty exciting day,” said board chair Rhona Martin from her position at the centre of the board table. “It’s wonderful to have all the staff under one roof and after taking a tour and speaking to people, everyone is very happy, they like their work spaces, they like that it is bright with lots of light.”
Other directors echoed the compliments, saying the single building will increase work efficiency, ultimately will reduce costs and is an attractive environment.
The building also has the future expansion potential of adding another 10,400 sq. ft.
“Of course, we are 25-35 years away from anything like that, but it is prudent to know the future expansion potential is there,” says Charles Hamilton, chief administrative officer.
The total cost of the building was fixed in the deal at $7.6 million, although CSRD directed another $200,000 in upgrades, mainly towards making the building more energy efficient.
“LED lights, for example, were an add on that we felt would have a long-term payback in reducing operational costs and save on maintenance,” added Hamilton.
“It’s a really nice building and will serve us well,” says Rene Talbot, Area D director.
Much of the move took place over the weekend with the CSRD only shutting down to the public for one day before re-opening June 15 in the new facility on Harbourfront Drive, east of Marine Park.
The former CSRD building at 781 Marine Park Drive has already been sold to a local investment firm, with a closing date of sale as July 31.
Hamilton says the CSRD wanted a simple, functional and fiscally prudent building, with an emphasis on natural materials.
“The public can be critical of over-builds in government facilities, I think what we have here is a nice balance of a functional building that has been successful in achieving some nice design elements, primarily through the use of natural wood, windows and the building overhang,” says Hamilton.
Also part of the board’s business at their first meeting in the new boardroom was to name the meeting rooms. The building committee and CSRD staff came up with the idea to name the rooms after bodies of water, including at least one from each area of the CSRD. The rooms will be named: Shuswap, Columbia, Illecillewaet, Reinecker and Gardom.
Martin thanked the staff for ensuring each area had a representative name.
“You know we politicians can be sensitive about these things,” she said with a laugh.