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Updated Heritage Building offers improved efficiency, air quality and a modern cultural hub for Westlock

Renovations for Phase 1 and 2 on track to be complete by June 17
The Town of Westlock is wrapping up its major renovations to the Heritage Building in mid-June. The renovations include exterior and interior upgrades, including a fresh, new look and a new HVAC system. Kristine Jean/WN  

WESTLOCK — The Town of Westlock is wrapping up its major renovations to the Heritage Building in June, that include exterior and interior upgrades and a brand new HVAC system.  

Town of Westlock councillors voted in September to amend the 2023-2024 capital budget from $423,000 to $794,700, for the Heritage Building HVAC energy efficiency and building exterior upgrades.

The project focused on replacing the aging boiler system with forced air duct heating system, which is helping renew the forced air systems to 98 per cent efficient. That’s up from 30 per cent efficiency previously.

The project, broken into two parts, included Phase 1, which involved the RTU and ducting upgrades and fire separation in the mechanical room and a rooftop unit replacement on the south section of the Heritage Building. It began in October 2023 and was completed in January 2024.

Phase 2 involved the exterior envelope, which required upgrading to increase facility efficiencies and improve curbside appeal. That phase began in January 2024 and is expected to be complete by mid-June.

Town of Westlock CAO Simone Wiley confirmed the costs for the renovations and said to date, the overall project is on budget and on track to be completed by June 17. 

“Of the $794,700 approved budget, $200,000 came from the Northern and Regional Economic Development program (NRED) and the rest was from Municipal Building Reserve,” said Wiley, noting there were some delays with the project.

“There were delays in construction due to a material delivery error. The supplier sent the wrong material and unexpected mitigation measures were (also) taken during the HVAC work, she added. “But overall, the construction schedule was not significantly impacted.”

The Heritage Building dates back to the 1950s and was once used as a primary school in the 1960s and 1970s. The Town renovated the southeast portion of the building in 2021, where washrooms and the Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) offices are currently located. The library and roof of the building were also repaired in 2016 and the council chambers were established in the building in 2017.  

The exterior upgrade has given the building a fresh and more modern look, and will provide the community “a modern and welcoming cultural hub at the entrance to our downtown,” said Wiley noting some positive feedback from residents, and the impact the renovations will have on patrons who use the Heritage Building regularly.

“I think most folks know the building is quite old and was in need of an update,” she said. “Air quality and perceived comfort level will be greatly improved with the additional insulation and building seal.”

Wiley said that having a more efficient building also decreases the utility costs and pressures on operating budgets.

“People feel encouraged to enter the facility and it contributes to their sense of community."

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Kristine Jean

About the Author: Kristine Jean

Kristine Jean joined the Westlock News as a reporter in February 2022. She has worked as a multimedia journalist for several publications in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta, and enjoys covering community news, breaking news, sports and arts.
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