A report on Centennial Hall in Watford commissioned by Warwick Township says the 50-year facility should be mothballed.
“It’s in poor condition and it’s my recommendation to close the building,” says Kevin McIlmurray of London-based Spriet and Associates in a report to council Monday.
He cited several building code issues, mostly related to fire safety and accessibility, following an inspection of the building in early January.
And the problems aren’t new. McIlmurray added that many of the same issues were cited in a report by his company to the former town of Watford nearly three decades ago.
“The building does not conform to many of the requirements of the current building code,” stated the previous report in June 1989.
The building, which includes a shooting range in the basement, a community centre, stage, kitchen and washrooms on the main floor and storage on the upper floor, is “tired” according to McIlmurray. But, he conceded that structurally it is “OK.”
The report says it would cost the municipality $525,000 to bring the building up to code with upgrades to the kitchen, washrooms, roof, heating and air conditioning and fire safety.
“I wouldn’t spend that kind of money on this building,” says McIlmurray. “It would be like throwing good money after bad.” The replacement cost for a new building would be $1.8 million, he said.
A staff report shows that of 675 events held at Centennial Hall over the past three years, all but 16, or nearly 98 per cent, could have been accommodated at either the arena in Watford or the community centre in Warwick Village.
Councillor Jackie Rombouts is concerned about public safety and hopes a decision can be made quickly on the future of Centennial Hall.
The issue was tabled to a special meeting later this month to allow input from two members of council who were absent Monday. Mayor Todd Case would like to get input from not only council, but members of the community before an ultimate decision is rendered. “It (the hall) has done a decent job for the community for a number of years,” he says.