The Civic Building in Banbridge was officially re-opened on Tuesday 16 May 2017 by the Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Garath Keating in the presence of elected members, senior council officials as well as members of the design and construction team responsible for carrying out extensive upgrade works as part of a year-long renovation project.
This key council administrative building, which has been at the centre stage of local government decision-making since 1981, has been significantly enhanced as a result of the works which focused on future-proofing the fabric of the building, making it more energy-efficient, improving accessibility for disabled visitors, providing parent and child parking spaces and reconfiguring offices to make better use of space in order to accommodate the needs of the larger organisation.
While unveiling a plaque to mark the official re-opening, the Lord Mayor complemented all those involved in refurbishing and modernising this building and completing the project to a very high standard. He commented:
“It’s wonderful to welcome the public back to a much enhanced Civic Building. I am most impressed with the end result – a modernised and fit for purpose building that will remain in use as a civic hub where key services can be delivered to people across the borough well into the future.
The completed works meet the needs of the larger organisation both now and in the future, and marks a new chapter in the building’s history.
I applaud the sterling work of all involved in bringing this project to fruition because we now have an exceptionally better building that has been adapted with accessibility, usability and sustainability in mind.
The Civic Building is now on a par with other key council administrative buildings in the borough, which have been significantly enhanced in recent years as part of an ongoing modernisation programme.
It’s important that we, as custodians of these important civic assets, continue to invest in our estate with a view to ensuring their long-term sustainability and suitability for service delivery.”
Among the many improvements are new double-glazed windows, external doors and ventilation and air-conditioning systems; electrical rewiring of the entire building; an upgrade of the gas-fired heating system; creation of both open plan, smaller offices and new meeting rooms; a new ramp and disabled parking spaces at the front of the building; an upgrade of the IT infrastructure; replacement of all ground floor ceilings; and new audio-visual equipment within a newly created Committee Room.
The Civic Building will accommodate some 75 staff working in Building Control, Community Planning, Environmental Health, Environmental Services, Estates and Asset Management and Registration.
The re-opening of the Civic Building has enabled staff accommodation at other council administrative buildings in the town to be reviewed.
In the coming weeks, Community Development staff will relocate to the Gate Lodge in Linenhall Street, while a number of support services along with Leisure, Events and Regeneration staff will be based at the Old Technical Building on Downshire Road.
Planning staff will relocate from Craigavon to Bridgewater House on the Castlewellan Road and temporary premises in Newry Street over the summer.
Members of the public were invited to tour the Civic Building after the re-opening event.