| Jul 31, 2019

Frontenac County senior administration began talking about the need for an improved administrative office suite several years ago. This has lead to the consideration of a number of options, the completion of a number of studies and a consultation process led by Rob Wood of 80/20Info.

An Administrative Building Design Taskforce was formed in 2016 and has met in fits and starts ever since. Between last summer and the spring of this year, the task force was looking at the idea of constructing a new building, located in South Frontenac, to house the administrations of South Frontenac Township, the Cararaqui Region Conservation Authority (CRCA), as well as Frontenac County.

But in April, South Frontenac informed the county that they were not proceeding with any relocation plans at this point, and will remain based at the township hall complex in Sydenham in addition to a supplementary office at the Keeley Road works yard just outside of Sydenham for the foreseeable future.

Three months later, the design task force met again, and this time considered a new proposal that is based on remaining in place at the existing “Old House” building that is co-located with the County owned Fairmount Home site. A new facility analysis has been prepared by architects Coulbourn and Kendell of Kingston, presenting two options, a renovated space for Frontenac County alone and a renovated space for Frontenac County and the CRCA. In both cases, the working assumption is that headquarters of Frontenac Paramedic Service will no longer be located in the building.

During the July 17 meeting of the Administrative Building Design Taskforce, Frontenac County Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Pender referred to the uncertainty about how paramedic services will be administered in Ontario after 2019. The Province of Ontario plans to reduce the number of paramedic service operators in Ontario from 56 to 10 within a year.

“We don’t know what will happen with Paramedic Services. If FPS goes away they will not need the space anymore, and if the service stays with us we will move it to a location in the City of Kingston,” he said.

Option 1 in the Coulbourn and Kendell facility analysis includes just under $1 million for renovations to make the existing building, which is still set up more like stately home than an office space, as well as a $452,000, fifteen hundred square foot extension at the east end of the building to create a new council chamber from an external entrance. The estimated total cost of option 1 is $1.84 million, $2.21 million if construction is done to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards, which has been Frontenac Counties practice

Under this scenario the suite of offices on the lower level of the building, currently occupied by Frontenac Paramedic Services, will be available for lease once they are vacated.

Option 2 is based on the assumption that the CRCA will occupy the FPS offices, which will require a 6,300 square foot addition to the building to the south in order to be large enough for their needs. The new council chamber would be be a shared space with the CRCA. The estimated cost of construction would be $3.7 million ($4.4 million if it is LEED certified) but the CRCA would pay a substantial occupancy cost, rendering option 2 the one that would most likely lead to lower costs for Frontenac County ratepayers.

The CRCA Board will make a determination shortly about their involvement in the project, but all along CAO Pender has indicated that the administrative needs for the CRCA are more acute than those of Frontenac County, because, he said, their current building it at the end of its useful life.

The task force passed a motion to proceed to the next stage of the project under option a or b, pending a decision about participation from the CRCA. The next phase would be to compete a detailed study of the space needs of both organisations to come up with a final floor plan, at which time the actual costs can be determined. The task force will reconvene at the call of the chair, likely in September or October.

Support local
independant journalism by becoming a patron of the Frontenac News.