This floor plan shows the layout for the new SRD boardroom. Source, SRD staff report

Strathcona Regional District board table will run well into five figures

Connectivity will be a major contributor to cost of furniture for new boardroom

When the Strathcona Regional District moves into its new boardroom, the directors will sit at a new table. And it won’t come cheap.

At the March 28 meeting, the board examined three main options for a new table that range from roughly $35,000 up to $80,000 or more.

Most on the board preferred the middle option, which falls in a range of $45,000 to $65,000, though a number of directors expressed some discomfort at the cost.

Denise Mitchell of Denise Mitchell Interiors gave a presentation to the regional district about the best options available, outlining a number of attributes the SRD is looking for regarding the new boardroom and furniture, such as room for 16 seats, connectivity, flexibility through modular arrangement, screen displays and seating areas, as well as fitting with the SRD esthetic.

“We’re trying to stick to the brand,” she said.

The second option offers them a familiar U-shaped layout and puts the board chair and two staff at the head. The other dozen board members would continue to sit along the two sides.

The cheapest option had less space at the head and was not modular, meaning it could not be set up in different configurations.

The middle option permits expanded configurations, as staff can move more tables from around the room into one set-up for large meetings. An example would be when the Comox Strathcona Waste Management (CSWM), with directors from both the Strathcona and Comox Valley regional districts, meet in Campbell River. At present, the CSWM meetings are being held at the Maritime Heritage Centre. Between the two boards, 23 directors, as well as several staff members, typically attend these meetings.

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There were questions, however, about the space in the room and whether this could accommodate a larger number of people, including the gallery.

Area A Director Gerald Whalley wondered if they could change the configuration to a more circular arrangement to fit in more chairs.

“There’s not enough width in the room,” Mitchell said.

Current designs though will allow for a sliding door that can open up into the lobby in the event of a large public turnout. At a couple of recent board meetings this year, people were left standing out in the hall because of too few chairs and too little space in the current boardroom.

Another main advantage of the mid-price model is that will allow for the SRD board to better interface with technology, such as having plug-ins for directors to hook up computers or tablets, or adding features such as streaming broadcasts of meeting in the future.

“All of that technology is what’s adding to the cost of the table,” Mitchell told the board.

She also said the choice of finish for the table can make a large difference in the cost of the table.

As well as the table, chairs and a new podium could run the price-tag higher. Mitchell said the estimate for the chairs was $900 each. Most on the board, though, felt the current chairs are fine and can be moved into the new space.

“There’s a lot of pieces that can be repurposed,” board chair Michele Babchuk said.

Mitchell said crews were waiting to pour concrete so she needed direction on some attributes such as placement of outlets in the floor.

A staff report also mentioned delivery for furniture could exceed 16 weeks, while work on the new boardroom is expected to be completed by late June or early July. It also says that once board provides direction, the regional district can determine how to proceed based on the budgetary and spatial considerations.