Pride of Elkford
Elkford’s new administrative centre is a beautiful workplace and part of a developing community hub
As this magazine goes to press, the District staff in Elkford will be moving into a brand new “mountain modern” workplace. The just-finished District office was designed by architect Lukas Armstrong of Cover Architectural Collaborative Inc. in Nelson, B.C., and constructed by Scott Builders Inc. of Red Deer, Alberta.
“This is the kind of work that Cover Architecture really loves to do,” said Armstrong. “It’s a project that lends to the vibrancy and growth of the community. We like to keep the money local, create employment opportunities for local contractors and labour, and create buildings and projects that are sensitive to the local context.
“The village is interested in creating good public space and expressing that Elkford is more than just a resource town. It’s a place where people can make their homes and their lives.”
Ron Brouwers of Scott Builders was the site supervisor for the project. “I thought it was an excellent project—one of the better ones I’ve done just because of the people I got to deal with,” he said. “The town, the contractors and the labour—everybody was really helpful. It was a nice change to work with people in a small community, and I’d absolutely welcome working on more projects like this.”
“Elkford has been a leader in climate change awareness,” said Scott Beeching, director of planning and development services for the District of Elkford, “so it was particularly important to make the district office a green building.”
The district office is a Step Code 3 building, which is the highest possible step for a commercial building in the B.C. Energy Step Code. It will use 20 per cent less energy than a conventionally built structure of this type and size, and solar panels will provide 30 to 40 per cent of its required energy. Use of solar panels was enabled with funding from the Solar Now program through Clean Energy Canada and the North Growth Foundation, and from Columbia Basin Trust.
“This will be very good for our community pride,” said Beeching. “When council made its design choice, it considered the work environment for the District employees and the reaction of residents when they come into the building. The building shares a parking lot with the new Elkford Community Conference Centre, so there is a campus type of feeling.”
The building features timber beams and lots of natural light, and has doors, washrooms and lowered counters that are easily accessible to people of diverse ability levels.
“The mayor insisted that we have a water fountain and washrooms available to the public,” said Beeching, “and we have a quiet space at the front where people can get out of the weather and where we can meet with people away from the traffic flow.”
Thanks to a grant from the Union of B.C. Municipalities, the new office has a natural gas generator so that the building can be used as an emergency operations centre should the need arise.