The refurbishment of the Havant Civic Offices, which will create the Public Service Plaza, is near the completion of its first phrase.
The building work started in October 2010 by contractors Morgan Sindall and architectural group Hampshire County Council.
September 2011 will see the first phase of construction work opened to the public, including a new atrium and reception area. The second phase of the refurbishment will be completed in summer 2012.
After refurbishment, the building will relocate over 250 social care staff and other front line staff from Hampshire County Council, in addition to the 420 Havant Borough Council staff.
The £13 million project, which includes a £5.1 million Government grant, aims to house a range of services in a single location. These services include public services from Havant Borough and Hampshire County Councils as well as voluntary services from a range of organisations.
Havant Borough Council expects that bringing public and voluntary services together will save money and transform service delivery. The longer term effects of the project include attracting investment to the wider civic site and helping to regenerate the town.
Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Ken Thornber, called the project “a major milestone in transforming services for people in Havant.” He said: “Not only will customers be provided with enhanced facilities but by changing the way we work, adopting smarter working practices and more efficient use of our buildings, we can make important savings at a time when the public purse is facing increasing pressure.”
The Public Service Plaza will contain rooms that the public can book for community events, computers with internet access, and knowledgeable staff to help answer any questions.
The building will also become even more energy efficient; it is expected to achieve a 35-40% reduction in energy consumption per meter squared of floor, which ensures reduced running costs and a lower carbon footprint. Both Councils will additionally save money by reducing the amount of office space they occupy.
A panel of representatives from the local community, Portsmouth Evening News, Havant Borough and Hampshire County Councils recently considered 150 names for the building, which were submitted by staff and members of the public. From the panel’s shortlist of 4 names, the public voted for Public Service Plaza, which won with more than 16,000 votes out of 30,554; over 2,000 votes ahead of its rival, Waterhaven.
Leader of Havant Borough Council, Councillor Tony Briggs, said, “It has been a long held ambition of Havant Borough Council to bring together the service providers to deliver quality services to our customers from one location, and [I] look forward to the opening of the completed PSV in September 2011.”