Penrith’s Civic Centre foyer is set to undergo a major facelift this month bringing it into the 21st century.
Approved at Council’s Ordinary Meeting on September 28, the $1.27 million refurbishment will improve the ergonomics of the space, create formal and informal meeting areas, feature self-service desks, a customer waiting area and also a café.
Penrith Mayor Karen McKeown said the works would provide customers with more privacy, more flexibility and reduced wait times.
“The current foyer space is expansive, and while it has served us well for close to three decades, improvements are overdue and we have an opportunity to reclaim some space to benefit our residents,” she said.
First opened in 1993, the bulk of the Civic Centre’s original fittings are still in place today.
The upgrade will provide a more contemporary look and feel and will include natural timbers and an extensive wall of living plants.
“Since the Civic Centre was built, the population of Penrith has grown dramatically and the way we engage with our customers has also changed,” Cr McKeown said.
“Many interactions that would have taken place face-to-face are now happening online and this gives us an opportunity to increase the quality of the service we offer when people do come in.
“Upgrading the Civic Centre will help us achieve that goal for our community.”
Disabled and older residents have been accommodated in the new design, with the customer service counter including a lower section that people can sit at, as well as a traditional standing counter.
Staff members will also be on hand to guide people to the right area, help customers navigate the technology at the self-service desk and offer advice on how to access Council’s online services from home.
Hunter Mason Pty Ltd was awarded the tender for Stage 1 of the Ground Floor refurbishment works, which includes upgrading the existing foyer and a back of house section where customer experience staff will be accommodated.
Council has not disclosed what Stage 2 will entail or how much it will cost. The Civic Centre foyer will remain open for business during the construction phase.
Work will start this month and is expected to be complete by May 2021.
Alena Higgins is the Weekender’s Senior News Reporter, primarily covering courts and Council issues.