Replacement Civic Centre

Overview

On March 7, 2018, Georgina Council voted to build a replacement Civic Centre on the same campus property, replacing the current building that was built in 1958, that has reached its life expectancy.

The decision followed extensive analysis and reports that explored –

  • The state of the current Civic Centre building
  • Other potential locations
  • Options for a retrofit of the current building versus a new build
  • Health and safety conditions/work environment

A building condition assessment in 2016 and again in 2022, identified many areas where improvements are required on the current building in order to comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). The assessment also identifies many deficiencies in the areas of health, safety and operational risks. Routine air quality tests determined there was a presence of ‘mouldy odours’ in sections of the building which prompted the closure of two separate areas to allow for remediation work to occur.

Advertorial - March 16, 2023

July 2023 update

Building Georgina Replacement Civic Centre - Artist renderings of the front and back of the Replacement Civic Centre

Design completion for the replacement Civic Centre has reached the halfway point and there is now a rendition of the front and back/courtyard of the building. It is based off the floor plan layout that was presented at the March 1, 2023 Council meeting. The intent of the rendition is to provide the look and feel of the building in terms of layout, size and building envelope – landscape and courtyard details are still being refined. Some things may change as the process moves forward.

The estimated 44,600-square-foot building will provide for the Town’s staffing and public needs today and in the future. With cost and energy efficiency in mind, we have been able to maintain the elements of the light-colour brick, full-height windows, as well as some wood-like features to try and stay as close as possible to a sloped/angled roof.

Civic Centre site plan - July 2023

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic

In March 2020, COVID-19, a global pandemic, forced governments and health authorities throughout the world to establish health and safety measures, including work from home and physical distancing orders. The Town of Georgina, in compliance with provincial orders, directed most staff to work from home wherever possible.

Around mid-June 2020, the Town decided to pause further progress of the replacement Civic Centre project design activities. The Town directed CBRE (Project Management, Workplace Strategy and Furniture team) to conduct a reassessment of the Town’s needs in view of the accelerating trends towards remote working and remote public service delivery, and to determine whether this could result in a reduction of the required building size and cost.

In the summer of 2020, CBRE implemented and completed an update to the Workplace Strategy. In 2021, Council endorsed the redesign of the replacement Civic Centre under the revised Workplace Strategy and directed the building be redesigned as a centralized hub complemented by a work-from-home approach. In October of 2022, the Town introduced its official Flex Work Arrangements Policy which formalized the ability to work from home.

Existing Civic Centre

The option to stay in the existing Civic Centre was assessed throughout 2016/17. Assessments were reviewed in 2018 and then again in 2021. The decision in both cases was not to stay in the existing Civic Centre.

The existing Civic Centre building is 65 years old and has many key building systems and issues that affect everyday use and that need to be addressed.

Asbestos: Investigations have found asbestos-containing material in the building (mainly in the basement) in the piping insulations, piping elbows, valves and hangers, ceiling and floor tiles, and their associated adhesives, with some associated asbestos containing building material used in the building construction, including the roofing tar and the boiler room refractory chimney lining and brick masonry cements. If any of this needs to be disturbed, then it needs to be properly removed and disposed of which would require the temporary relocation of staff and services.

AODA: Numerous AODA compliance items (such as doors and doorway widths, a new AODA compliant elevator which will likely require a building addition for a new larger elevator shaft, two universal washrooms per floor that could require concrete block wall renovation to make the spaces larger, as well as ramp and railing retrofits) will have to be addressed when renovating the other major building systems.

Air quality and building systems: Existing air quality and air circulation is poor and utilizes an old radiator-type heating system. A total new HVAC system is required. There are potential structural issues with the existing roof in terms of supporting rooftop HVAC units. Routing of ductwork and the HVAC system throughout the existing building will be problematic. The building does not have a fire suppression systems and so a new fire alarm sprinkler system needs to be designed and installed. This will also need to be routed throughout the building while trying to respect clear heights, etc. A new fire alarm panel will also be required. The main electrical panel needs to be replaced and likely the subsequent electrical wiring in order to meet the current codes. The emergency generator needs to be overhauled to ensure adequacy as well as that system meets the required regulations and codes.

Functionality: The building was originally designed in 1958 to function as an institutional residential building for a religious organization. It was repurposed by the Town as an office building and several additions and alterations have been made over the years. As a result, the building was never functionally designed and suited as an office space, especially given today’s designs and standards that place importance on employee wellbeing and customer interaction.

Timeline

History and timeline of the Civic Centre

  • March 1, 2023, Council approved the replacement Civic Centre with an updated total project budget of $50 million.
  • Jan. 24, 2023, Council deferred approval of the replacement Civic Centre to March 1.
  • November 2022, Council received the draft budget report which included a Class D budget of $50M for the replacement Civic Centre.
  • Summer 2022, staff directed to explore what was possible with a $25M project budget – resulted in a building design of 21,200 square feet – far too small to meet neither current or future needs (Class D estimate $25.7M).
  • March 2022, 42,600 square foot concept design provided with a $41M Class D estimate
  • August 2021, 43,500 square foot concept design provided based on latest workplace strategy.
  • April 2021, revised workplace strategy presented to Council; replacement Civic Centre to be redesigned based on hybrid work model.
  • June 2020, design put on hold to revisit workplace strategy.
  • November 2019, Based on public input sessions, the courtyard concept was approved by council for the replacement Civic Centre.
  • May and August 2019, public input sessions held at the ROC in addition to online surveys to express community needs, as well as review and comment on the replacement Civic Centre
  • September and October 2019, public input sessions held along with an online survey.
  • January 2019, Council approves project budget of $27M.
  • March 2018, Council approves a new building.
  • In 2017, the current building was assessed.
  • In 2016, a consultant reviewed the building and presented a strategic accommodations options plan to Council.
  • In 2010, structural construction/reinforcement work was completed to support the work area above the Council Chamber.
  • In 2007, a portable was attached to the Civic Centre to provide additional staff space.
  • In 2006, municipal water and sewers were installed to all serviced buildings on the property.
  • In 1997, the rear parking lot was expanded to double the original size.
  • In 1993, a revised drainage system for the building and property was installed and completed.
  • In 1988, five small additions were constructed on the second floor flat roof areas as well as new windows throughout the building. A peaked roof was designed and installed. The roof was constructed on the ground in sections and a crane lifted the roof sections onto the Civic Centre.
  • In 1973, the Township of Georgina purchased the building, together with 155 acres of land, at a cost of $437,500. (The original cost of construction for the building was $589,900.)
  • The building was named “St. Gerard’s Novitiate.”
  • The Civic Centre was originally constructed in 1958 by the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer as a Novitiate.

Document links

Public Input Sessions

In 2019, two public information sessions were held – May 28 and Aug. 27. There was also an online and hard-copy survey that was made available to the community in late May and early June of 2019. A total of 50 community members attended the two public input sessions. A total of 136 responses to the online and hard copy surveys were received.

Aug. 27, 2019 Presentation - Replacement Civic Centre
May 28, 2019 Presentation - New Civic Centre

Business case for the replacement Civic Centre

Frequently asked questions

How much will the replacement Civic Centre cost?

The total cost of the redesigned Civic Centre is estimated to be $50M. This includes additional site works, demolition of the current Civic Centre, achieving a LEED Gold designation for environmental efficiency, construction contingency, as well as fees and permits, and furniture, fixtures and equipment for a new building.

Project Budget based on Class D Estimate

Budget Item Description

Current Class D Estimate
(44,600 ft2 )

Base building

$29,000,000

Site Works (parking, drainage)

$5,700,000

Demolition/asbestos abatement

$2,200,000

LEED Gold (efficiency/sustainability)

$1,300,000

Construction contingency

$3,800,000

Total construction cost 

$42,000,000

Consultants

$3,800,000

Permits and fees

$330,000

Occupancy and owner's costs

$500,000

General furniture, fixtures and equipment

$2,600,000

Sub-total

$49,230,000

HST (1.76%)

$866,448

Total project estimate

$50,096,448

Why did the cost increase from the original budget?

Since the original pre-design project budget estimate of $27M for a 45,173-square-foot building in 2018, there has been an increase due to required additional site works, abatement and energy efficiency of $6.2M, along with approximately $16.8M in escalation costs from 2018 up to 2025 (projected completion date). The escalation percentage for 2021 and 2022 were 15.3 per cent and 15.6 pe rcent respectively for non-residential construction. The prediction for escalation costs could be 10 per cent for 2023 followed by 7.5 per cent thereafter. 

Reasons for the increase in replacement Civic Centre project budget from $27M in 2018 to $50M in 2025 (Difference of $23M)

Graph outlining reasons for increase in budget, Additional siteworks (including visitor parking lot) $4.2M 18%, Allowance of additional effiency/sustainability/FFE $1.6M 7%,  Allowance for abatement prior to demolition $400,000 2%, Inflation $16.8M 73%

What are the key problems with the existing Civic Centre?

The existing Civic Centre building is 65 years old. It has many issues/deficiencies that affect everyday use.

Asbestos: Investigations have found asbestos-containing material in the building (mainly in the basement) in the piping insulations, piping elbows, valves and hangers, ceiling and floor tiles, and their associated adhesives, with some associated asbestos containing building material used in the building construction, including the roofing tar and the boiler room refractory chimney lining and brick masonry cements. If any of this needs to be disturbed, then it needs to be properly removed and disposed of which would require the temporary relocation of staff and services.

AODA: Numerous AODA compliance items (such as doors and doorway widths, a new AODA compliant elevator which will likely require a building addition for a new larger elevator shaft, two universal washrooms per floor that could require concrete block wall renovation to make the spaces larger, as well as ramp and railing retrofits) will have to be addressed when renovating the other major building systems.

Air quality and building systems: Existing air quality and air circulation is poor and utilizes an old radiator-type heating system. A total new HVAC system is required. There are potential structural issues with the existing roof in terms of supporting rooftop HVAC units. Routing of ductwork and the HVAC system throughout the existing building will be problematic. The building does not have a fire suppression systems and so a new fire alarm sprinkler system needs to be designed and installed. This will also need to be routed throughout the building while trying to respect clear heights, etc. A new fire alarm panel will also be required. The main electrical panel needs to be replaced and likely the subsequent electrical wiring in order to meet the current codes. The emergency generator needs to be overhauled to ensure adequacy as well as that system meets the required regulations and codes.

Functionality: The building was originally designed in 1958 to function as an institutional residential building for a religious organization. It was repurposed by the Town as an office building and several additions and alterations have been made over the years. As a result, the building was never functionally designed and suited as an office space, especially given today’s designs and standards that place importance on employee wellbeing and customer interaction.

What will a new building provide?

  • Lower annual operating costs
  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint
  • A healthy, functional building
  • A safe building with a fire suppression system
  • An asbestos-free building
  • Improved efficiency, space utilization and energy usage
  • Enhanced environmental system sustainability such as variable frequency drive controlled mechanical equipment, LED lighting, etc.
  • Safe ecosystem for staff and the public to protect against unknowns such as COVID-19
  • A flat roof that allows a standard HVAC system to allow for better airflow distribution
  • Easily meet current legislative requirements, including AODA – fully accessible building for residents, visitors and staff
  • Reduce structural limitations which is a major hurdle to retrofitting the current building
  • Provide an inclusive, fully accessible building and work environment
  • Avoid costs associated with multiple moves and provide the public with a more convenient experience
  • Avoid work, service or business interruptions
  • Provide for improved access control., i.e. staff safety/security
  • Foster and provide a welcoming and properly functioning environment for staff to service the public properly
  • Provides a model in which customer service staff are situated with several departments within the same section and floor. This offers increased opportunities for cross-department information sharing and timely support to visitors
  • Will provide adequate dedicated meeting/consultation space for the public to meet with Town staff

What would it cost to renovate the existing Civic Centre?

The 65-year-old Civic Centre building has been the subject of much analysis by experts, looking at all viable options since 2016. It would require significant improvements including compliance with Ontario’s accessibility standards in addition to addressing other deficiencies in the areas of health and safety.

The estimate to address the Building Condition Assessment (BCA) findings of 2022 for the existing Civic Centre is approximately $27M which includes escalation estimates from 2022 to 2026.  The BCA findings and cost estimates do not factor in:

  • An integrated design, the potential re-work to fit universal washrooms (two per floor), the structural adequacy and likely redesign to accommodate rooftop HVAC units, the various routing pathways for HVAC, sprinklers, and electrical rewiring if current wiring is not up to code, etc.
  • Conversion to a functional administrative / office layout to the practical degree possible given its original use as a residential building for clergy.
  • A sprinkler system.
  • Addition to the building to accommodate a new AODA compliant elevator that ties in to all floors (including mezzanine floors).
  • Removal of interior walls to open up spaces.
  • Relocation of staff and services due to construction, asbestos abatement.
  • Leasing costs to account for staff relocation (delays can impact lease costs even further).
  • Potential service disruptions.

On top of the construction cost estimate for all of the above work, the project will need to include costs for the following:

  • Consultant fees (project manager, design, other)
  • Owner costs (permits, insurance, furniture, fixtures and equipment, AV/IT)
  • General contractor (mobilization, bonding, insurance, overhead, profit)
  • Contingency given the nature of the work and age of the building 

How will the replacement Civic Centre be paid for?

In January 2023, Council approved creating a new replacement Civic Centre reserve and associated financial plan to fund the project.

This reserve will be funded by using existing annual reserve contributions that have been set aside previously for the purpose of replacing facilities, as well as the annual infrastructure levy for 2023 and 2024 only. The Town started a dedicated infrastructure levy in 2018 for the specific purpose of ensuring that there is a sustainable funding source in order to reduce the funding gaps relating to roads, parks, and facilities to ensure the Town continues to provide high-quality services to residents by delivering on the capital projects in the 10-year capital plan. The annual infrastructure levy is currently 2 per cent.

Since the Town needs to ramp up funding to this reserve, a combination of a temporary capital line for up to five years and internal borrowings against reserves for approximately 12 years after the completion of the project, will be used. Once the internal borrowings are repaid, including any associated interest on the temporary capital line, the annual internal borrowing contribution, estimated to be $3.4 million per year could be reallocated to other infrastructure needs within the community.

Can the replacement Civic Centre project be delayed?

The project was placed on hold in 2020 due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Delaying the project further has the likely potential of seeing costs continue to escalate due to inflationary pressures.

If the project is delayed, then approval must be obtained to proceed with efforts to immediately address the noncompliant Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) issues at the existing Civic Centre. According to AODA, compliance at the existing Civic Centre is to be achieved by Jan. 1, 2025 if major renovations are undertaken.

What has taken place since 2018?

Since the decision to build a new replacement Civic Centre was decided in 2018, there have been many different versions designed to address new workplace requirements, as well as attempts to improve efficiencies, attain the correct square footage and reduce costs. This has been demonstrated by the 11 concept layouts and seven Class D type cost estimates. The latest comprehensive needs analysis was completed in December 2022.    

Replacement Civic Centre project chronology

Meeting

Direction/deliverable

Layouts/$estimate

Report

Oct. 25, 2016

Pivotal report: Fully assessed five options: Stay and renovate, move out and renovate, new build on existing site, on third-party site, with the MURC

 

Council Mtg.

March 7, 2018

Construct a new replacement Civic Centre (RCC).

 

Council Mtg. 

Aug. 14, 2018

Construct new standalone RCC on Civic Centre site.
Demo existing Civic Centre.

 

Council Mtg.

Jan. 29, 2019

Project budget of $27M approved.
Was based on program ft2 and not an actual layout.

 

Oct - Sept 2019

Public Input Session 1 and 2
Online surveys: 50 Community attendees/94 online participants

 

Council Mtg.

Nov. 20, 2019

Community Courtyard concept endorsed based on public and staff engagement.
Prepare Master Plan with site and roadworks.

 

 June 2020

Design Development at 100%.
Now includes additional site works at $4.2M

49,400 ft2; $32M Class B

Direction given

Design on hold – revisit Workplace Strategy:

  1. Revisit ft2 based on hybrid work-from-home approach
  2. Look for cost savings and efficiencies

 

Council Mtg.

April 14, 2021

Revised Workplace Strategy presented.
4 Options presented and deemed nonviable: (1) Keep current Civic Centre (CC) with or without remote work, (2) Utilize a portion of the CC with other Town facilities/buildings, (3) Move Town staff to remote work only, (4) Utilize Town facilities/buildings with remote working but without an RCC.

 

Direction given

  1. RCC to be redesigned according to the revised Workplace Strategy.
  2. Base design on hybrid model.
  3. Attempt to reduce footprint by 12,000 to 16,000 ft2
 

Steering Committee August 2021

Revised Design: Bottom-up approach resulted in 43,500 ft2.
Top-down reduction provided 3 more options.

Options: 43,500 ft2; 34,800 ft2  36,500 ft2 & 36,700 ft2

Direction given

  1. Proceed with the 43,500 ft2 option.
  2. Provide class D estimate.

 

Steering Committee March 28, 2022

Test Fit = 42,600 ft2 - Class D estimate $41M.
Three other layouts produced to try to reduce ft2 and cost

(43,200 ft2 $41M); (27,500 ft2 $28.5M); (22,000 ft2 $24.2M); (12,500 ft2 $16.7M)

Direction given

Explore what would be possible with a $25M project budget.

 

Summer 2022

Result was a building of 21,200 ft2.
with a Class D project budget of $25.7M.

21,200 ft2 - Class D project budget $25.7M (determined to be too small for current and future needs)

 CAO Mtg.

Fall 2022

21,200 ft2 - Will not meet current or future needs. 

 

Direction given

  1. Revisit 42,600 ft2 layout and confirm that it will work with what we know today and the Official Flex Work Arrangements Policy.
  2.  Provide Class D estimate.
  3. Bring forward a presentation of the updated layout at the  2023 Council Budget meeting.

 

Draft Budget Tabled  Nov 30 2022

Updated Budget of $50M included in the draft budget report and presentation

 

Effort during Nov/Dec 2022, Jan 2023

  1. Met with all department heads to confirm office sharing and staff expected with the Flex Work Policy.
  2. Provided Class D Estimate

 

 Jan 2023

Building size required is 44,600 ft2.
Class D estimate is $50M
40% Public Space.
Approximately 20 desk spaces for future growth.
Offices all bookable and being shared.
Building layout and design dependent on Hybrid working model (i.e. very efficient)

44,600 ft2 - Class D project budget $50M

 

Is the courtyard design more costly than a rectangular design?

Three concepts were looked at and costed out in 2019, and the courtyard design was the lowest cost. The other two concepts were rectangular in shape. The courtyard design was chosen with public input through public sessions and a survey.

Is it more efficient to build up three levels on this site?

Of the three concept designs, the two-storey courtyard layout was the most cost efficient when compared to the three-storey options.

Due to the high water table and type of soils, the required foundation work to support a three-storey building would require more costly deep foundations to support the building. In addition, as the building footprint is made smaller and the number of floors increased, usable space is sacrificed on each floor due to the requirement for elevators, stairs, washrooms and other facility services.

Is the replacement Civic Centre appropriately sized?

The building size has been reduced by approximately 5,000 square feet from the design that was completed in mid-2020. This resulted in the reduction of space for about 30 to 40 staff.  

The proposed reduced building size of 44,600 square feet for the replacement Civic Centre provides for 122 seats of which 20 are for future growth.

There are more than 150 staff that would be based out of the replacement Civic Centre that includes 10 Finance Division staff currently working out of the Annex, (the former police station building on the property near the ROC). This includes staff that work out of the existing Civic Centre and staff that work from home. The size of the building has been reduced because of the Flexible Work Policy that allows some staff to work from home.

Will the building accommodate for future growth?

With a replacement Civic Centre, expansion would not be necessary for at least 50 years from the time it is built in 2025 (that is, no expansion until 2075). By that time, it is reasonable to assume the workforce assigned to the Civic Centre could grow to 200 staff.  

Modest growth in staffing will be required to support the growing population and employment base. By 2051, Georgina’s population is projected to grow by 20,000 residents from a current estimated population of 50,000 to 70,000. Employment growth is projected to grow by approximately 10,000 additional jobs by 2051. Population/employment growth projections to 2075 are not available but it’s reasonable to assume continued positive growth. 

Building the replacement Civic Centre to house 120 staff strikes a logical balance between current and future needs over the next 50 years. Moving forward by 2025/26, it is projected that the replacement Civic Centre will need to accommodate up to 100+ staff. This leaves 20 spaces for growth over the next 50 years, out to 2075. This will require a continued progressive Flexible Work Policy, formal desk-sharing program and online self-serve/digital advancements.

Will the replacement Civic Centre be energy efficient?

Yes, the current recommendation is to pursue a LEED Gold certified building with a focus on energy efficiency and sustainability. It is anticipated that this will result in lower operating costs over the existing Civic Centre.

Where will the replacement Civic Centre be built?

The new Civic Centre will be built on the same property where the current building exists on Civic Centre Road.

If a replacement Civic Centre is being built, what will happen to the old one?

The current Civic Centre building will be demolished once the new building is complete.

Contact Us

26557 Civic Centre Rd,
Keswick, ON  L4P 3G1

T: 905-476-4301 / 705-437-2210
F: 905-476-8100
info@georgina.ca

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