Renovation and expansion of the Administrative Complex in Calder Hall have begun and are estimated to cost $28 million, with a completion time of one year. New areas to be included in the renovated building would be a gym, a home-work centre, a room for staff training and meetings and an area for use by members of the THA’s Executive Council.
So announced Chief Administrator Raye Sandy, speaking at a public meeting to inform Calder Hall residents of the scope of works and possible implications at the Calder Hall Multi-purpose Facility on Monday,
“We are extending one wing of the building closer to the main road and the other wing, we are also extending it closer to the road. The building now is almost L-shaped, so it would become a U-shaped building when completed.
“Generally, we are going up with two stories, we would try and maintain as much park as possible at the ground level of the building so that we can be able to park below the building. The improvements to the building generally would be for the comfort of the existing users…Our intention is not to bring additional persons in that building but to make it much more comfortable for those who are now using the building,” Sandy said.
He said the building was being renovated because the current structure was quite aged and subject to various challenges including mould on the walls, asbestos in the ceiling, cramped space and malfunctioning air-condition units.
Noting challenges with parking, Sandy said the THA was currently in negotiations to acquire a parcel of land to the back of the building.
“We would have leased a parcel of land right opposite the building for a period of time to treat with the temporary parking of our employees, so we won’t have too many persons parked on the roadway. We are also in the process of negotiating and this went to Executive Council last week… we are negotiating for the parcel of land at the rear of the building. We are negotiating with the owner for the purchase of that lot and that would be an additional car park if the negotiations are approved by the Executive Council and by the land owner,” he said.
Asked why renovation works were happening now, Sandy said the project was earmarked for action since 2015 under the tenure of then Chief Secretary Orville London, but work was shelved as monies were not readily available or accessible. He noted that in 2015, a contractor was chosen, and designs completed.
Sandy said that effective August 27, offices at the building will be closed at 2pm to facilitate the works, which would be done during the evening period into the night so as to not interfere with the daily operations.
Contractor is Towers Consortium while the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UdeCOTT) is the project manager. UdeCOTT’s Tobago Senior Construction Manager, Learie Tobias, told residents gathered at the meeting that they would be affected by the construction during the period.
“We anticipate that some major issues that would occur during the construction phase would be related to dust, noise, parking and accessibility through the area, he said, adding that discussion shave been held with the contractor on dust traps and that “all measures must be taken to satisfy the villagers, the community people so we affect you as least as possible.”
THA Representative for the area, Marslyn Melville-Jack asked about information on the project given to residents, the number of persons from the community who have gotten jobs, and the nature of the traffic management strategy during the hours of construction.
Sandy said he would be going around to speak with all the neighbours personally about the project. UdeCOTT’s Tobias as according to the terms of the contract, the contractor is obligated to hire 40 per cent labour from the community.
“He is fully aware of that. We have already submitted a list of community workers…One thing I would like to ask is that the labourers that come, they need to understand that this is a project that needs to be completed on time and within budget, so we ask that they understand work ethics which is something that we are really looking at,” he said.
As regards traffic management, Tobias said this was also part o the contract.
“…we would have asked the contractor on evenings to occupy the premises with all his vehicles. Until about 5pm is reasonable time which most of the traffic would be easy. So, it is an arrangement,” Tobias said.
One resident asked about noise in connectuion with the project.
“Because the noise cannot be avoided, we embark on informing, so we would tell you on a specific day the type of noise, the noise level and the duration the noise will be held for,” Tobias said.