The Civic Building in Banbridge was officially re-opened last Tuesday by the Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Garath Keating.
Also present were elected members, senior council officials and 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.
The Lord Mayor commented:“It’s wonderful to welcome the public back to a much enhanced Civic Building.
“I applaud the 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.
“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.
“The Civic Building is now on a par with other key council administrative buildings in the borough, which have been significantly enhanced as part of an ongoing modernisation programme.”
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 heating system; creation of open plan, smaller offices and new meeting rooms; a new ramp and disabled parking spaces; an upgrade of the IT infrastructure; replacement of all ground floor ceilings; and new audio-visual equipment.
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 other council 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.