Last Thursday June 11, outgoing cathaoirleach of Westmeath County Council, Cllr Joe Whelan officially opened the new county buildings in Mullingar.
The event marked the culmination of a two-year construction project, which, at a cost of €40 million, was delivered on budget. The new building will provide significant improvements in public services, in an environmentally friendly manner.
The new 74,900 sq ft facilities will enable members of the public who currently have to visit up to nine different buildings scattered through Mullingar to avail of council services, to access all these services under one roof. Up to 210 staff can be accommodated in the new buildings.
The new civic offices will ensure a much enhanced standard of customer services. On the ground floor, accessible directly from Mount Street, will be customer services, a special area for examining planning files, a new motor tax office, a new housing desk, and large screens which will present information to visitors. All parts of the building are fully accessible and Part M (Disability) compliant.
The new Mullingar Branch Library is located on the first floor and is accessible by ramp from Mount Street and by lift/stairs from the ground floor. When fully operational the library will have a total stock capacity of 30,000 items consisting of books for all ages, a range of multimedia materials, music CDs, DVDs, audio books, and language courses.
There is a suite of 16 state-of-the-art public computers providing access to internet and email. A new Local Studies department will facilitate access to a wide range of reference materials on the history and heritage of the county.
Other improved facilities include six meeting rooms, three party meeting rooms to facilitate the elected members of the council, and a new 160-space staff car park which will be available for public use on Saturdays.
A number of activities are planned for Heritage Week in August to commemorate the historical significance of the site of the new buildings, and to celebrate local government’s continued presence in this part of Mullingar since the 12th century.