Preparation work to make IW Council’s headquarters in Newport a main focal point for local residents and double the amount of staff that can work there is well underway.
Over the next year and a half, County Hall will be transformed to allow resident access the vast majority of council services in a single location. The building will also be modified to more than double the capacity for staff currently working there – from around 300 to more than 700.
Currently, the local authority runs several of its services out of numerous buildings. All these buildings cost the council annual rent and maintenance.
The cost of the remodelling project of County Hall is just under £3.4m. To reduce future disruption and to save costs, planned general maintenance will also be carried out at the same time. The cost of the maintenance works would have been more had they been undertaken separately. The project is due to be completed in late 2012 with the cost recouped within only two years with ongoing savings.
The reception area will be upgraded to include new self-help terminals to cut down on queuing times for visitors. Existing furniture will also be used where possible, while some of the work will be undertaken by a number of Isle of Wight companies.
One of the first parts of County Hall to be remodelled will be the Council Chamber, with the hard standing furniture replaced with moveable furniture. An improved sound and audio system will also be installed. The work will allow the room to be more widely used by the local community.
Steve Beynon, IW Council Chief Executive said “Preparation work is underway with the first phase of the actual building work beginning in late August. These works are very important as not only will they save the council hundreds of thousands each year in rent and repair costs, they will also help local residents to access council services.
“For example, our social care services currently operate out of almost a dozen buildings. Our Community Services for Housing runs from a building opposite County Hall costing us money, yet it is only a few metres away from our HQ. This is why remodelling County Hall is a very important project.
“It is also pleasing that we are looking at local companies to undertake much of the work.”
The works are being phased to ensure as little disruption as possible as no staff will have to move to other buildings during the project. A reception for customers will remain open at County Hall during the works.