First look inside the £3.2m refurbished landmark
Kirkcaldy’s new-look Town House, which has just undergone a £3.2 million facelift, opened its doors to the public on Monday.
The Press was given a behind-the-scenes look around before customers descended on the building which has been the centre of civic life in the town since the 1950s.
The finished building has taken 18 months to complete, after its first major modernisation since it opened.
On the instruction of Historic Scotland many of the original features have been kept, including the original quarter inch thick linoleum from the Nairn’s factory which is a listed item in its own right.
The staircases to the upper floors with their handrails are also maintained as is the huge mural which adorns the wall at the top of the staircase to the first floor.
As soon as you enter the automatic front doors you are met by a huge black and white linoleum map of old Kirkcaldy – a real talking point as people try to find their own street on the map!
Original features sit alongside new, with a brand new customer service hub which includes a bright and airy reception area with comfortable seating and two brand new self service points, with phones and computer monitors linked to the customer services centre and Fife Direct services which they can access without having to queue.
Visitors are met by customer service advisors who can direct them to where they need to go.
The majority will be seen in the customer service point which deals with everything from registration of births, marriages and deaths to benefits and welfare advice, housing enquiries, concessionary travel, environmental issues and social work business.
There are ten private interview rooms within the customer service area so people can talk to the appropriate staff in complete confidentiality. To manage the services more efficiently, anyone wishing to speak to a member of staff will be advised to make appointments in advance.
Andrew Stokes, customer service team leader in Kirkcaldy, said the aim of the modernisation programme was to provide the best possible service to customers and provide a facility for the future.
“This is potentially the busiest office in Fife and it has great transport links from the bus and train station as well as being close to the High Street.
“Staff from many other buildings such as Forth House and East Fergus Place have all moved in here and for the first time all of our social work service will be run from this building which was well overdue a modernisation, as it hasn’t had any investment in 60 years,” he said.
On the second floor are the Community Learning and Development suites with a range of IT equipment where training and education sessions will take place
As well as having its roof stripped back and having a new waterproofing membrane and insulation installed, the building has had secondary glazing installed in most of its windows, and been completely rewired and redecorated to give it a bright and fresh look, incorporating coloured feature walls and energy efficient lighting.
New skylights let much more natural light into the building, while corridors feature information posters and there is also a plasma television in the customer service point with continually updated information on council services and news.
Its office space is open plan and flexible, with staff each having a personal locker for their possessions rather than a desk, and there are also a number of “touchdown” desks where staff from other council premises can work from.
A newly refurbished wedding room can cater for up to 50 seated guests, while the recarpeted Council Chambers can seat up to 100, so the whole wedding package can be offered at the Town House.
The second floor mainly houses the new social work offices, meaning the building will now be the workplace for over 300 staff who were previously scattered around the town.
And a bright and airy new canteen, with a glazed panel roof will serve hot food and snacks to staff and members of the public.
“We are very pleased with the work which has mainly been carried out by our building services team, with contractors brought in for the more specialist work,” said Andrew.