They are not exactly shovel ready just yet, but a $14,000 study by architectural firm Colbourne and Kendall concluded that if Frontenac County, the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority (CRCA) and South Frontenac Township decide to build a combined new administrative building, each of the three partners would realise significant savings when comparing the cost they would incur building their own separate buildings.
The savings come about from various aspects of the construction, from site purchase and preparation costs, to wastewater treatment, a combined entranceway, shared meeting rooms etc. Kendall and Coulbourne said those savings could total as much as 28% in construction costs, and $5.5 million in operating costs over the 30-year life span of the building.
The assumption made by the firm was that the building would be located within South Frontenac. There would be savings if the building were located within range of the Sydenham water treatment plant but the exact location of such a building would be subject to availability of land and the needs of the three potential partners.
The newly constituted Frontenac County Building Design Task, with new membership after last fall’s election, received the report last Wednesday (February 20).
South Frontenac Mayor Ron Vandewal, who was elected as chair of the committee, said that the first thing he has to do is bring the matter of a new building before his own Council.
“Aside from agreeing to help fund this preliminary analysis about costing a shared building, our council has not talked at all about this,” said Vandewal. “We need to have that discussion before we can commit to anything from the township end.”
South Frontenac currently has two administrative offices. One is located in Sydenham, in the same building as the council chamber, and the other is nearby on Keeley road, on the public works site.
Frontenac County is based at the ‘Old House’ and the Fairmount Home site, and about two years ago CAO Kelly Pender brought a report to Council regarding the inadequacy of the building, sparking a process to look at renovations or a building something new.
Last year the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority approached Frontenac County about the possibility of co-location, and South Frontenac joined the process last summer.
Kelly Pender said that the Board of directors of the CRCA will be meeting this week to look at their next steps, in light of the report.
“They are in more of a hurry than we are at this table,” Pender said, “because their building is at the end of its useful life and they need to find a new home pretty soon. They may not want to wait for us to decide.
In light of the fact that all three of the potential partners in the project will now have to consider seriously the prospect of a multi-million dollar project before any next steps can be taken, the committee could not do more than accept the report and refer it to the three councils to decide if they are in or out before proceeding to deal with any of the details surrounding the project, such as site selection, building design, and an ownership model.
The matter will come before South Frontenac Council soon, perhaps at a Committee of the Whole meeting in March, and to Frontenac County Council as well, likely in March or April.