At a meeting this morning (October 11) Vice-Governor Jamroen Thippayapongdara, who is in charge of the project, revealed that the estimated cost for the entire project will be B450 million, of which B67.5 million has already been approved by the central government.
Work on clearing the land for the new hall will begin within 90 days, V/Gov Jamroen said.
The new hall, six floors high and paying lip service to the Sino-Portuguese style of its predecessor, will occupy four rai of land across Surin Rd from the present building, taking the area currently occupied by the tennis courts and the offices of the Department for High School Educational Service for Phuket, Phang Nga and Ranong.
What is now the Sanam Chai sports field will be turned into gardens, with a car park underneath for 400 cars.
All of the staff from the current Provincial Hall and most from the annex built a decade or so ago will be moved to the new building.
V/Gov Jamroen said that the designs for the new building have yet to be finalised, and he did not mention the completion target date.
Across the road, the current offices of the Auditor General, another historical building, will be preserved but will be converted into a club for officials. The Auditor General and staff will move to the new hall.
The tennis courts are to be rebuilt elsewhere, though a site has yet to be identified.
Mr Jamroen’s announcement of the project, which has been kept under heavy wraps until today, came as a shock to Orapin Suwanboriban, representing the High School Educational Service (HSES) at the meeting.
Told that the office and seven homes occupied by local people must be cleared out within 90 days, she said this was the first she had heard of the project.
The offices had only just been renovated, she pointed out. “The director, Somboon Ruangkaew, has just ordered many new office equipment. The improvement of the office is ongoing,” she said.
She also asked where the office and its staff were supposed to move to.
Mr Jamroen replied that a former director of the HSES, who was involved in the first meeting on the project, had promised the office would be moved and had said that he had a site in mind for it.
“This is very strange,” Mrs Orapin told The Phuket News. “We have had many changes of director recently, but they must have passed the story on to one another. And we have just bought a lot of new stuff.”
There were no more dissenters in the meeting and V/Gov Jamroen confirmed at the end of the meeting that the whole area must be ready for construction within 90 days.
“I want to thank the government and to all the departments involved. This project has been waiting for very long time – ever since I was a minor official 17 years ago – and finally it is to become reality. This will be a huge gift for all the citizens of Phuket.”
Also at the meeting were Nanthasak Bunnag, Division Director of the Provincial Adminstration Department; Tamrong Thongtan of the Phuket Treasury’s Land Department; Buree Tammarak from the office of the Deputy Governor (Palad); Manop Leelasuthanon, representing the Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation (OrBorJor), and Sittichai Promchat and Tawee Homhuan from the Provincial Department of Public Works and Planning.