£24 million Shirehall refurbishment set to take a step forward
Plans for a multi-million pound refurbishment of Shropshire Council's headquarters look set to be given the go-ahead.
Councillors will meet next week to discuss the matter and approve the spending of £1.15 million to move to stage three of the project which would see it delegated to the council's Director of Place, Mark Barrow, who would oversee the production of the final business case.
The proposed refurbishment of the Shirehall building, which was built in 1964, has been estimated to cost in the region of £24.1m.
Additional costs could include £1.7m for the removal of asbestos from the building along with £600,000 for the business centre courtyard and £1m 'creating opportunities along the street frontage'.
In a report to go before the full council on Thursday, Mr Barrow says: "The building in its current state presents an image to the public and partners which is far from ideal, appearing old fashioned and unwelcoming and disorientating for staff and visitors alike.
"The building is structurally sound and its key mechanical and electrical systems remain viable, but a number of years with minimal planned maintenance has had a negative impact on the quality and performance of the building, which now needs to be addressed urgently.
"A number of key elements have exceeded their expected lifespan, and significant investment is required to bring the building to modern standards.
"Shropshire Council is also seeking to become a more commercially focused organisation, but the image the Shirehall currently portrays to business partners is tired and outdated.
"Our base needs to demonstrate that we are open to business and a safe set of hands in which to trust the future place making of Shropshire.
"The building offers the potential for high quality, open plan workspace which can house the current council body as well as providing further office space and a business hub for external partners."
The council has estimated that it could make a potential income from commercial lettings of £1.7M.
Mr Barrow added that once the refurbishment is complete the building will provide an improved working environment for staff, leading to improved efficiencies through flexible and agile working and opportunities for collaborative working.
There will also be reduced running costs, through significant energy savings, increased efficiencies and fewer empty desks and meeting rooms, along with reduced maintenance costs.
Mr Barrow added: "The next stage of investment is required to get the project to the point of tender appraisal, which sets out the detailed design and employer’s requirements enabling the procurement of the main contractor."
- Designed by Ralph Crowe and built in 1964, the building was to be the third Shirehall for the expanding council.
- Up to 800 employees, an average of circa. 550 at any time, currently use the Shirehall across 1,024 potential work stations.
- There are 34 meeting rooms.
- There is an annual wastage of 819,500 KWh as a result of mechanical and electrical inefficiencies and approximately 246,200KWh per year as a result of the single glazing.
- Shirehall has a number of existing third party users including Crown Courts, Connecting People, County Training, Domestic Abuse Forum, Heritage England hot-desks, Kier, WSP, Royal Voluntary Services, Shropshire Homepoint, Women’s Aid
- Local groups including the Scouts, local churches, local events and flower show marshals also use the building.