posted on March 27: Purchasing, financial services staff will be first to move to downtown campus


Staff from some areas of Purchasing and Financial Services will be the first to move downtown to the courthouse this spring.

About 40 people from the areas of Payroll, Purchasing, Customs & Traffic, Accounts Payable, Travel and Financial Services will be the first group of employees to relocate to the former Wentworth County courthouse at 50 Main St. East. They will occupy the fourth floor.

University planner Linda Axford said planning and discussions are ongoing to ensure that everyone's needs are addressed.

“The important thing is to create a sense of community so that eventually when we have filled the building, there will be a strong McMaster presence, anchored by staff,” she said. “We recognize that change is difficult and we are working on things like comfortable staff lounges and ergonomically-correct work areas in an effort to address concerns about change.”

Relocation to the courthouse campus will be phased in with other areas moving to the site through the spring, summer and fall. Other areas that are moving include Continuing Education, Human Resources staff involved in staff training and the United Nations University group.

All staff who are confirmed at this point to be moving have been notified.

Accounts Receivable and the Cashiers will not be moving and will remain on the second floor of Gilmour Hall in a newly-renovated work space.

Earlier this year, the City of Hamilton and the University agreed to an occupancy schedule that entails city staff relocating to other sites, with the University acquiring full occupancy by the end of August.

The University has agreed to a 10-year lease to occupy the entire building and will pay all operating and maintenance costs (estimated to be about $730,000 a year), plus a contribution equal to $1 per square foot annually (estimated to be about $113,000) towards capital renewal needs.

Work is now underway to install equipment to meet telecommunication and information technology needs. To ensure a “seamless transition,” staff will retain their current telephone extensions.

Axford said the tentative move date for the first group is April 9, but that date is not set in stone.

“The move to the courthouse will not happen until the MUSA strike is over nor will it happen close to the strike ending,” Axford said. She said that the University understands that change is stressful and the goal is to help staff make the transition to the new site as easily as possible.

Axford has had several meetings with staff and their managers in an effort to address all concerns.

Parking manager John Abraham has secured several parking spaces in lots that are within a few blocks of the courthouse to accommodate parking needs. Staff will continue to pay the same fees that are applicable now and will continue to use their parking permits to allow for easy access to the main campus.

The courthouse will be equipped with a large kitchenette/lounge on the fourth floor and staff, where required, are receiving new workstations when they move into the offices. Eventually the five-storey building will house offices, a staff training computer lab and Continuing Education will have several classrooms and seminar rooms on the second floor.