Formerly known as Bearsden Burgh Halls, the Bearsden Community Hub is located on Bearsden Road, at the heart of the town centre flanked by a densely populated residential suburb and Bearsden North Church. It has been a mainstay in the area since the Victorian age and has become a focal point for history in the area since its inception. CCG and hub West Scotland led the conversion and upgrade of the building on behalf of East Dunbartonshire Council.
Whilst the building in its former shell was a popular local landmark, the facility was underused and so the extent of works was to give the building a new lease of life to refurbish to create a more welcoming facility for the local community and to laterally, become a central hub for a variety of council services including library, social work, registry, and bill payment. The Bearsden Community Hub also had to retain its function as a centre for the community and so CCG was challenged to conceive a building that could still accommodate floor space for curricular space which was achieved by the construction of a new floor, now actively used for community activities and social gatherings.
Through detailed consultation with the local community, it was realised that the two main elements to the refurbishment had to involve the reconfiguration of the main entrance to create a more welcoming frontage, a nicer aesthetic, and to increase floor space area inside the building. The honest elements of the brutalist design were integrated in a contemporary manner with the stone base and the distinctive cantilevered roof verge. The refurbishment successfully reconnects the building to the community by relocating the entrance to the main street facade. The former entrance was located as a side entrance and was not readily accessible particularly for those with disabilities. The new entrance has been formed to encourage entry and is complimented by a newly built disabled access. This design move also creates civic realm for the area and has assisted with parking arrangements, a note that was particularly relevant to the homeowners living next door.
The main innovation of this project was to create more floor space within the same building envelope. The main hall had an incredible floor to ceiling height of 9m. The new level was realised by inserting a steel frame and floor slab within the existing hall. This allowed the main hall to be raised to the first floor and a new library inserted in its place.
CCG began works in April 2016 with the first phase of activity being the internal demolition of the building and the installation of new structural items. This demolition involved stripping out the interior in its entirety. The external demolition then followed which involved the removal of the cladding, render and the canopy & bitumen from the roof. Upon the completion of the demolition, CCG was able to commence the installation of the reconfigured layout which included the new first floor and the glazed façade, something which was protected for the duration construction programme. As the building progressed, so to did the hard landscaping around the exterior of the building forming the new disabled access route. Overall, the construction programme allowed a successful delivery 1 month before the end of the contractual programme ensuring ease of entry for council staff in February 2017 and an opening the following month.
The economic impact of the works is predicted to be successful. With an increase in footfall to the building, local businesses will benefit from increased traffic to their own premises. The building is now given the opportunity to play a key role in hosting events for the local community which has already included several children’s plays and pantomimes, charitable events and arts and craft fairs.
CCG believe in providing opportunities to the local area and did so via the provision of job opportunities and providing curricular support to the local primary school. As a direct result of the project, CCG welcomed a number of new entrants to the Group via this project, all living within 5 miles of the site as well as providing Curricular information to local school children that included CCG staff visiting Bearsden Primary to inform pupils of the construction works and processes.
East Dunbartonshire Council / hub West Scotland