£34m Council House opening its doors one month today
THE doors to Derby's renovated and extended Council House will open its doors to the public in exactly one month today.
The past two years have seen staff moved out to other offices, removals, demolition, construction and refurbishment.
Currently 350 people are working on the £34 million project and with construction work nearly completed, staff will start to move back into the building from December 1. The process will continue through to February.
And from Monday, December 17, residents will be able to use the new Council House for all their council businesses.
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While the exterior of the building looks cleaner, smarter and more inviting with its new glazed entrance, it is the interior which, in the words of the authority's chief executive, is like a "Tardis".
Adam Wilkinson, chief executive of Derby City Council, said he is "exceptionally pleased" with the result.
He said: "The quality of the product is extremely good. It is sustainable and cost-effective in terms of maintenance.
"It has been very innovative and it will pick up national awards for sustainable architecture.
"The council chamber is dead-centre and the atria and use of daylight is the key to the building.
"Instead of the previous never-ending maze of corridors when you saw no windows, it is a very different building now. It is like a Tardis."
When the Council House closed in December 2010, 500 staff moved out.
But from next month, 1,900 staff will start moving back in.
The maths will be achieved in part through a £14 million investment in new technology.
It means staff, where it suits their jobs, can work flexibly using iPads and phones to do work while out and about or at home.
The council faced criticism when it made the decision to spend millions refurbishing the existing building, rather than using the money to kick start a regeneration scheme in the city.
But Mr Wilkinson said: "When we looked into the Council House option, not only could it be done, but it could be done cheaper."