PORT St Mary’s town hall will fully re-open this August and details about a grand celebration of the event will be released shortly.
The auditorium of the building, built in 1898, was closed in 2003 when plaster fell from the ceiling. The lower level, including the commissioners’ office and play group, remained open. There was debate over whether to sell the town hall and relocate the commissioners’ office to another building elsewhere.
Refurbishment work has been sporadic over the last few years said commissioners’ clerk Jason Roberts. ‘Work had been done on the plaster, water ingress, the asbestos was removed and double glazed windows installed.’
After Mr Roberts took up the position of clerk, in September 2010, he and the board reviewed the situation and when they realised the cost of a wish list of possible projects was prohibitively high, pared it down.
‘We want back to basics,’ he said. ‘We looked at what do we need to do to make it re-open.’
‘Much of the work to date has been undertaken by our own members of staff, which has given the project a real sense of ownership,’ said commissioners’ chairman Bernadette McCabe. ‘Ayre Construction Limited has been successful in being awarded the tendered package of works, which includes new access steps incorporating a storm porch and platform lift providing access to the hall for those less able as well as new male and female toilet facilities.’
The cost of the work so far has not been made public, said Mr Roberts.
Mrs McCabe added: ‘I have to commend the drive of both the board and staff in making this happen ... we are genuinely excited that we are breathing life back into the building. A number of people have already enquired about the availability of the hall to run a wide range of clubs, activities and events, which will make the hall, once again, a fantastic amenity for the village of Port St Mary.’