Ontario Construction Report Staff Writer
After two years and an intense construction schedule, the new $43.6 million 120,000 sq. ft. Windsor City Hall has officially opened its doors.
Constructed by locally based Oscar Construction, and designed by Moriyama & Teshima Architects in joint venture with Architecttura Inc. architects, the five-storey structure is located just south of the previous city hall which was half the size of the new project and, in the fall stage of the project, will be removed.
Wadah Al-Yassiri, project administrator with the City of Windsor, says the design was all about custumer service and accessibility/efficiency, therefore, the Council chambers, meeting rooms and customers service wickets are all on the main floor and 2nd floor while administration is on the third, fourth and fifth floors.
The building will serve the community well into the future through a design that is efficient, accessible, light and airy and “all based on new code requirements and safe building material” for at least 60 years to come according to Al-Yassiri. The space has also been designed to accommodate growing staff and future space needs. “The combination of current building codes, a focus on LED lighting, efficient HVAC and a green roof sets this building at near the level of LEED Silver. We also have light sensors to dim the light closer to the windows, and we installed vertical louvers on the east/west side of the building and horizontal louvers on the south side of the building to “break” the direct sun light and save on cooling cost accordingly.”
As with any big and complex project, there was a need to balance between the cost and demands and requirements from city departments, such as specific mechanical and electrical needs, IT and technology requirements, heating and cooling specifications and audio-visual requirement. Al-Yassiri says all of these have been factored in to provide city staff and stakeholders with the functionality and infrastructure that is required.
With the general contractor, most of his trades and the furniture vender all from Windsor and surrounding areas, approximately 80 per cent of the force behind the New City Hall design and construction is local.
As the electrical contractor for the project, locally based Turn Key Group Ltd. applied its 18 years supporting ICI projects to meet the project’s aggressive timelines.
Luc Pignal, Turn Key Group project manager and senior estimator says Oscar Construction, Al-Yassiri and the rest of the team had to be forward thinking and responsive when a redesign and rebuild of the entire secondary electrical service for both the new city hall and the existing city hall building was required. “There was also extensive co-ordination with the city and manpower required to accommodate cutting the power and reconnecting the power to an operational government facility. This was certainly a unique and challenging aspect of the project that went off without a hitch.”
Pignal says any project constructed in an urban environment and adjacent to an active property brings many challenges including heavy traffic, parking issues, and utility interferences within the site. “We were able to overcome these issues with strict collaboration between all members of the construction team.”
Al-Yassiri says since inception this project was a team effort at its best. “Each member – from the architect and general contractor and their subtrades to the city’s departments and Windsor utilities – played a certain role in order to deliver what we promised since day one: a beautiful, efficient new City Hall building, on time and on budget.”
“We worked hard together as a team. We stayed late together. We joked and argued sometimes but never lost focus in pushing to deliver what we promised the City of Windsor – a beautiful new City Hall for our community to enjoy and be proud of. Kudos to the team.”
Pignal adds that the team assembled was the greatest benefit to this project. “The City of Windsor’s project administrator was diligent in providing solutions, Oscar construction managed the project team magnificently and our site foreman Sal Zappa was outstanding for the on-site electrical coordination and installations. The end result is a beautiful, functional building that we can all be proud of for years to come.”