State-of-the-art HQ for Roscommon County Council
Áras an Chontae is a state-of-the-art, purpose-built Civic Headquarters, located on a prime accessible site for citizens and employees of Roscommon County Council.
The new Civic Headquarters provides upgraded accommodation for members and staff, with modern facilities in a spacious office layout. The building symbolises a new presence for Roscommon County Council in Roscommon Town. The new Civic Headquarters will be a convenient one-stop-shop for council services, amalgamating all departments, including the new Local Enterprise Office, that were spread over seven locations around Roscommon Town under the one roof.
The new building not only improves the professional image of the council but will in fact aid in providing a much more convenience and improved service to the public.
Many of the old council buildings were not accessible to all, with steps and staircases throughout. Old, large, thick walls meant IT infrastructure upgrades were limited. Additional archive storage facilities had to be rented by the Council.
The efficiencies of the move are substantial in terms of rent, energy, capital, maintenance and communication costs. Facilitating improved service delivery and customer care for customers.
The new building is 6,250sq.m spread over three floors. The new offices are a mix of cellular and open plan offices, with a spacious open plan on all floors. In addition three new car parks have also been developed.
The Civic Headquarters will house all council departments, along with a state-of-the-art Council Chamber with the latest conferencing technology and a public viewing gallery. In-house civic meeting rooms, local councillor rooms, dedicated archive storage and a canteen complete with balcony provide a tremendous upgrade to the council and its users.
Accessibility is optimised as the new building is fully equipped with features which make it universally accessible to all, regardless of ability. Disabled car parking spots are provided close to entrance doors which are automatic, access ramps are provided, lifts operate to all floors, there are also low level desks in the main reception with spacious corridors and disabled toilets are also available. Universal accessibility will benefit those with disabilities, people of small or tall stature, parents with buggies, delivery persons and so on, who will have greater access to the built and external environments.
The entrance foyer operates as the main transaction hub for customers via the customer service desk and payment counters. An exhibition is currently in the process of development for display along the main sloped entrance passageway. The exhibition will consist of etched glass wall panels which will tell the ‘story of Roscommon’.
Embedded in the boundary of the new site were the walls of the original 19th Century Roscommon Goal. The original Goal wall on the North West side of the site has been retained and meticulously resorted and is now incorporated into the external wall of the new building. The Goal was constructed in the 1800s and operated as such for most of the 19th century. It was then used as a Garda Station from 1925-1948.
An old Aveling & Porter Steam Roller has been restored and takes pride of place in the front foyer of Áras an Chontae underneath the light well. The steam roller was originally used for the construction of roads throughout County Roscommon. It was manufactured in Rochester, Kent, England in 1912.
The Civic HQ is fitted with a sustainability energy building management system (BMS) which controls the air conditioning technology within the building. The clever system monitors air quality and temperature and decides if air conditioning should be running at any given moment.
The building management system electronically opens and closes the windows, decides how many of the windows should be opened or closed and turns the air conditioning systems on and off. This smart technology ensures the air is clean and of a high quality and is always at the correct temperature. Likewise the lighting system is fully automated with electric controls. Occupancy sensors automatically turn lights on when a room becomes occupied, keep the lights on without interruption while the space is occupied and turns the lights off within a preset time period after the space has been vacated.
The latest ICT infrastructure has been installed including Cisco phone systems, Hewlett Packard PCs and screens and a managed print service (MPS) provided by Xerox devices.
The Chief Executive of Roscommon County Council Eugene Cummins, said:
“These Civic Offices are for the people of County Roscommon, and by having all departments under the one roof will allow Roscommon County Council to provide services in a modern and effective way.”