Exploring options for the provincial building

City has engaged several firms to conduct high level reviews

BY STEVE CHRISTIE

Mayor of Lacombe

In the fall of 2015 the City of Lacombe purchased the provincial building located at 5104 50th Ave.

The building was constructed in the late 60’s at its current location, and over the years it has been renovated and small additions have been made to accommodate a bank branch office, a liquor store, a medical health unit and some community not-for-profit organizations.

The City recently engaged several firms to conduct high level reviews of the building to determine the structural state of the building and the building systems, identify any key building code issues and indicate feasible uses for the building. Reports were submitted by Stantec, Scott Builders and Chandos Construction.

I am pleased to say that the reports indicate that the building appears to be structurally sound; however, some building code upgrades are required.

As well, there is some hazardous material present that would require abatement.

Possible upgrades include fireproofing the second floor and the roof and the installation of security and sprinkler systems. New mechanical and electrical systems are also recommended. Parking space must be taken into consideration as well.

The Real Estate Capital Asset Priority Planning (RECAPP) report for the building provided by the Alberta Government identifies the need for $852,420 of maintenance in the short term, primarily consisting of replacing windows, doors and other various minor envelop improvements; miscellaneous flooring repairs, t-bar ceiling replacement, air conditioning/heating life cycle replacements, plumbing/electrical life cycle replacements, lighting improvements, millwork life cycle replacements, washroom improvements and the addition of a lift to the second floor to improve barrier-free access.

The report also indentified the need for a life cycle replacement of the flat membrane roof in 2026.

Council is currently evaluating the provincial building as the site of a future downtown Civic Centre.

Two options for the site under consideration include: a) renovating the existing building or b) demolishing the existing structure and building new.

In May 2016, City administration advertised the Provincial Building assessment and business plan Request for Proposal (RFP) to aid the City in its decision making process.

The RFP asks proponents to evaluate the existing building, work with the City to assess the medium and long term needs of the future Civic Centre and determine the initial capital and ongoing operating costs for both renovation and new construction.

The following scope of work includes an analysis of the following if Council decides to proceed with a renovation project:

Building and Energy Code compliance.

Needed or imminent upgrades, replacements, or renovations related to structural integrity, hazardous materials and utility capacity.

Prioritization and cost estimates for future upgrades, replacements or renovations over a 20-year horizon.

Identification of potential energy saving measures for the building systems operation.

Long term Civic Centre needs for the City and identification of potential improvements to the provincial building and site (i.e. changing floor plan, equipment location, repurposing of space, parking considerations).

Any other work considered to be advantageous to the City.

In the case of a ‘new build’:

Analysis of long term Civic Centre needs for the City and identification of a potential building footprint and building size considering those needs.

If it is determined to be advantageous to do so, identify a potential new build phasing plan.

Proposals were also to include a business plan that would consider estimated capital costs, an operating Pro Forma for each option (renovation or new build), and expected benefits and risks associated with each option.

The RFP review committee received seven proposals and after careful review recommended that Manasc Isaac, an Edmonton-based architecture firm, be awarded the Provincial Building Assessment and Business Plan Scope of Work for a fee of $49,100 plus GST.

The committee’s recommendation was approved by Council, and work will begin in earnest to complete the building assessment and business plan by the end of August.

This timeline will allow Council and staff to address any work proposed for 2017 during annual budget deliberations.

Steve Christie is the mayor of Lacombe.