About $5.5 million in renovations to Red Deer’s City Hall are underway while the building is empty because of pandemic measures.
The re-insulation of exterior walls, replacement of drafty windows, and upgrade of City Hall’s aging air conditioning/heating system has started.
The main floor will also be modified to provide safer public interactions, said Erin Stuart, inspections and licensing manager for the city.
The money was approved as part of the 2020 budget “to ensure the health and safety of staff and visitors,” said city manager Allan Seabrooke.
Although the renovations were supposed to happen over four years, to avoid disrupting regular operations, the upgrades have been fast-tracked to be completed within six months, while City Hall remains closed due to COVID-19 measures.
“There are several health and safety changes that need to take place before we can open back up to the public,” said Seabrooke. “Many of these require substantial changes to the way the building operates and functions.”
Stuart said the main floor of City Hall was always intended to be redesigned for better security and safety — but now, the new distancing requirements that are necessary because of the pandemic will be incorporated into the new design.
She expects all the work to be completed in the fall.
In the meantime, a new option will be available for people wanting to pay bills or make various applications. Seabrooke said a temporary customer service centre is opening at the Recreation Centre, 4501 47A Ave.
While online interactions are still being encouraged, residents can opt for counter services for utility bill and property tax payments, parking issues and parking ticket payments, reloading parking cards, invoice payments, license and permit applications and payments, inspections and special event permits.
“The temporary customer service will remain at the Recreation Centre until we are able to safely open City Hall to public and staff again,” said Seabrooke.