New admin centre celebrates grand opening 0
MARK WANZEL/QMI The Official grand opening of County Administration Centre in Midhurst took place Tuesday. After 30 months and $25.3 million, the new and expanded County of Simcoe Administration Centre was unveiled to the public during a ceremony which took place in the building's lobby. From left: Stephen Teeple - president of Teeple Architects, Dawn Hipwell, the county's director of purchasing, fleet and property, Warden Cal Patterson Harry Hughes - Deputy Warden, Mark Aitken- Chief Administrative Officer, Jordan Hoogeadam - Zon Construction, Frank Perricone - Percon Construction and Rob Knight, partner with Ted Handy and Associates
County officials have waited a long time for this celebration.
After 30 months and $25.3 million, the new and expanded County of Simcoe administration centre was unveiled to the public during a ceremony on Tuesday.
"It's a huge change from before. The old building allowed for very limited public access," said Rob Knight, a partner at the local architectural firm Ted Handy and Associates. "Now all the departments and other key components of the building are directly accessible from the (new) lobby."
That lobby, with its expansive two storey glass walls, is the centre piece of the 70,000 square-foot expansion, which utilizes energy conservation and environmentally-friendly design and adds much needed space to the pre-existing 43,000 square-foot building constructed in 1973.
The two-storey expansion — which wraps around three sides of the existing building — offers the administration centre's approximately 250 employees a view of the surrounding Simcoe County forest.
The expansion features some of the most up-to-date LEED (Leadership in energy environmental design) features available.
Windows — with exterior glazing combined with argon gas between the panes of glass to reduce ultraviolet light from entering and increasing the insulation factor — are used where possible to bring as much natural light indoors as possible.
Offices have daylight sensors which automatically dim or shut off if enough sunlight is coming in and occupancy sensors will shut the lights off if no one is in the room.
Besides better access for the public and for wheelchair users, the new building's other claim to fame is a huge reduction in energy consumption, with estimated savings of 40 to 50% over regular industry standards.
"It was built to have payback in 17 years through energy conservation features," said purchasing, fleet and property manager Dawn Hipwell, adding the project came in on-budget and on time. "All Simcoe County residents can be proud. This is setting the design standard in the municipal sector."
A vertical-loop ground-source heat exchange system — featuring 84 wells each 250-feet deep — will be used to heat and cool the facility, which will be augmented by a condensing boiler system allowing for supplemental heating provided through a radiant floor system.
The ventilation heat recovery system provides fresh air, depending on the occupancy of the space.
Solar collection panels on the roof and on towers on the property will provide energy to the grid and revenue back to the county to offset energy costs.
As with all LEED projects, base-building materials contain recycled content and are sourced within 800 kilometres of the centre. All wood materials must be Forest Stewardship Council certified. All materials and products used must contain low volatile organic compounds and are ureaformaldehyde-free where possible.
The expansion also includes public access to seven new meeting rooms — for staff and not-for-profit organizations — which feature the latest in audio visual aids. Many groups are already taking advantage of the rooms, Hipwell said.
Tuesday's opening ceremony will begin at 11:30 a.m. during a break in the regular meeting of county council. Members of the public are welcome to attend.
The administration centre is located at 1110, Highway 26 north of Barrie.