Starland County holds grand opening of new facility 

Residents and staff of Starland County gathered together for the one-year celebration and official grand opening of the county’s new building on Thur. Aug 5 following the fire that engulfed the former administration building three years ago in May 2018. Speeches from council, staff and dignitaries kicked off the event followed by the ribbon cutting by council, lunch and tours of the building. From the left, Starland County councillors John Rew, Murray Marshall, Bob Sargent, Steve Wannstrom, Jackie Watts and Chief Administrative Officer Shirley Bremer cut the ribbon, signifying the official opening of the facility. ECA Review/T.Huxley
Written by Terri Huxley

Residents and staff of Starland County gathered together for the one-year celebration and official grand opening of the county’s new building on Thur. Aug 5 following the fire that engulfed the former administration building three years ago in May 2018. Speeches from council, staff and dignitaries kicked off the event followed by the ribbon cutting by council, lunch and tours of the building. From the left, Starland County councillors John Rew, Murray Marshall, Bob Sargent, Steve Wannstrom, Jackie Watts and Chief Administrative Officer Shirley Bremer cut the ribbon, signifying the official opening of the facility. ECA Review/T.Huxley

An official grand opening took place Thurs. Aug. 5 for everyone to explore the new Starland County administration and public works facility.

Approximately 200 people came to witness the opening, taking part in listening to speeches, the ribbon cutting, complimentary lunch and building tours.

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Shirley Bremer gave a heartfelt speech about the trials and tribulations endured to get to this point including the whole reason this facility came to be.

In the early hours of May 25, 2018, the former Starland County administration building burned to the ground after a fire broke out in the lower level.

Over 100 years of archives as well as current records were lost because of it.

The county had been planning on eventually replacing the public works facility which is now 53 years of age, making current jobs with larger scales harder to accommodate in the space.

This planning had started in 2021 to begin saving Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) funding towards this project.

With the aftermath of the fire, this accelerated the decision to replace both facilities at the same time.

“We had the land to build on, as the previous CN railway right-of-way adjacent to our present shop area had been purchased a few years prior. 

“There were significant savings in combining the two buildings, including shared meeting rooms, training area, washroom and janitor facilities, file storage and a combined reception area,” said Bremer.

Eagle Builders secured the contract to create the multi-use building at $8,236,841 out of nine contenders.

They are a contractor based out of Blackfalds, Alta. and are considered Western Canada’s largest design-build precast concrete contractor which oversaw aspects of the building from the raw materials to the turnkey product.

With this precast concrete structure, the county was able to eliminate the need for sprinklers due to the compartmentalization and non-combustible characteristics of this structure.

Bremer explained that the cost per square footage came to $215.

The facility is 38,298 sq.ft. total with the shop taking up 18,798 sq.ft. of this and the office space at 19,500 sq.ft.

ECA Review/Terri Huxley

Approximately $2.45 million was garnered from insurance proceeds for the former Administration Office fire loss as well as $6 million in MSI Capital Grant funding from 2010 to 2019 was collected to pay for this building.

Starland staff in the meantime utilized donated trailers from ATCO.

Construction began in September 2019 and they worked through the winter and spring of 2020 and was completed July 31, 2020.

It is projected that the structure should remain viable for 75 to 100 years.

The new shop includes six bays and an inventory/parts receiving and storage area.

Office spaces for all departments and future potentials include the entrance lobby area which has been designed to allow for the possible usage and/or rental of meeting rooms after hours.

It also allows for an area large enough to accommodate in-house training needs.

The council chambers are designed to allow for an Incident Command Centre (ICC) for emergency situations and a large generator has been connected to provide power when an emergency situation occurs.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this newspaper on her dinner table growing up, it helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA). Fast forward to 2020, she has won second in the same category for the AWNA.