Issued by City of York Council
This Saturday 21 September residents are being invited to take a behind the scenes tour of the award-winning redevelopment of the city’s former railway building and hotel complex, now City of York Council’s headquarters and customer centre.
Coming the day after City of York Council’s West Offices are officially opened by the Rt Hon Lord Mayor, Cllr Julie Gunnell, the open day will give residents the opportunity for the first time to take a tour of the buildings upper floors, to see for themselves how the space has been created to support new and modern ways of working while respecting and celebrating the building’s heritage.
Between 10am and 4pm, visitors will be treated to a grand tour of the building’s facilities, unfolding the story of its heritage with the aid of some colourful historic characters, and some musical entertainment from the council’s choir CANsing.
They can try out the City of York Hologram Tour app and view a video showing the council’s journey in preparing to move as well as a time lapse video of the construction. The first of a programme of public art exhibitions will also be on display – a staff photographic competition on the theme of Making a difference.
Chief executive, Kersten England, said: “It took just over 20 months to turn what was a run-down listed building into a modern, open plan and energy efficient offices from which the council and our partner organisations, NHS Vale of York CCG, Citizen’s Advice, South Yorkshire Credit Union and the police, now deliver and administer services.
“Heritage groups have praised the scheme as a model for the sustainable regeneration of older buildings.
“The council’s own project team and the team from S Harrison and Buccleuch worked together brilliantly to deliver this impressive facility on time and within budget and the result is fantastic and is making a real difference to the efficiency of our operations.”
Councillor Sonja Crisp, Cabinet member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism, said: “Despite heavy snow, over 1,700 visitors attended an open weekend at West Offices during this year’s Residents Festival in January to see the building during development, and we hope this chance to see it now it’s fully furnished and occupied will prove equally popular.
“This time they’ll be able to get a behind the scenes glimpse of how it operates and see rooms and floors not normally open to the general public as well as get an exciting insight into its past.”
Speaking on behalf of the developers, Ann Scott, MD of York-based S Harrison Developments Ltd, said: “We’re pleased to have exceeded the council’s brief to deliver a headquarters building which reflects the city’s historic heritage and its ‘open for business’ ethos.
“We feel a great sense of pride in working as a team with the City of York Council to take a run-down historic building, restore it to civic use and give it a viable future.
“The combination of respecting heritage whilst delivering a sustainable, energy efficient home for the council is an achievement of which the whole city can be proud.”
The West Offices scheme has won a raft of regional and national awards including Project of the Year in the RICS Pro-Yorkshire awards and a national Green Apple Award for its sustainable credentials.
The open day is free and groups of around 20 people at at time will be given tours at regular intervals between the hours of 10am and 4pm on Saturday 21 September. No booking is required.
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