The District of Sooke’s 26-year-old municipal hall is set for some TLC.
The district issued a request for proposals from builders this winter for the design, upgrades, and modernization of the public building’s water lines and sprinkler systems, a contract estimated at $250,000.
The project is part of a 10-year, $1.2-million plan to renovate and refurbish the building at 2205 Otter Point Rd.
“It’s of critical importance that we have a safe building to work in to provide services to the community,” said Norm McInnis, the district’s chief administrative officer.
According to an engineer’s assessment, municipal hall did not reveal any visual evidence of “major structural failures,” soil erosion or differential settlement.
“The site buildings (which includes Firehall No. 1) appear to be in satisfactory condition and comparable standing to similar commercial properties in the area,” a report prepared for the district last March stated.
The building has not had any significant renovations in its lifetime, and many of the building systems – electrical, roof and HVAC have reached the end of their useful lives.
“The building is just getting older. You have code issues with most older buildings; once you start doing any renovations, you better be prepared to bring everything up to code,” McInnis said.
Work will take place over several phases and include regular annual maintenance of the building.
Major work should add 30 to 40 years to the building’s life.
No serious discussion has taken place over the construction of a new municipal hall, McInnis said.
“We’re starting to outgrow it for sure, and we’re trying to be creative in how we can continue to expand as our community continues to grow,” McInnis said.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the district has experimented with staff working from home. Numbers swelled in the spring, and now 17 staffers use a “hybrid model” of working at home and the office.
“We’re trying to be creative in how we can continue to expand as our community continues to grow,” McInnis said.
But for now, at least, McInnis expects the status quo at municipal hall.
“(The building) is in really good shape. The setting, the location, it’s a beautiful building and still functioning very well for us,” he said.
“To replace this building would cost millions of dollars.”