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General News of Saturday, 29 June 2019

Source: citinewsroom.com

Parliament to begin construction of new Chamber before 2020

The construction of a new parliamentary chamber for sittings is expected to begin before the end of 2019.

This was disclosed when Members of the Parliamentary Service Board received a model for thr proposed new chamber on Friday.

According to the Speaker of Parliament, some allocation has been made towards the project by the government but additional funding is being sourced to make the project a reality.

Famed architect, David Frank Adjaye, renowned for many building designs around the world and in Ghana particularly for the soon to be constructed National Cathedral designed the model.

At the meeting on Friday, he took the parliamentarians through the proposed design and their concepts.

He told the media that the project will be completed in three years if it begins before the end of the year, adding that Parliament have asked that preparations are made to commence the work.

“We have been given the direction to prepare to start sometime this year. If we are able to start this year, it can be completed within the next three years.”

He explained that as part of the project, the current chamber and the building it is housed in, will be refurbished to serve as a conferencing facility.

David Adjaye added that the car parks will be converted into gardens while a more secure underground carpark is prepared for MPs.

“We are removing the Parliamentary chamber to a new chamber and refurbishing the old parliament to be another conference facility for parliament. With that, we are putting to use all the car parks you see, under the parliament for security…. The parliamentarians can drive into a secure zone and rise up directly into the chamber,” he said.

He further noted that the new developments will ensure that all facilities used by parliamentarians and parliamentary staff perform better and under less pressure.

“This will allow the job 600 building to perform better. Where the carparks are will be turned into gardens which will be able to receive people on such occasions.”

The new chamber will be a multi-purpose building with amenities like a chapel, mosque, restaurant, and a museum.

The plan for the construction of a new chamber has long been on the agenda of the government.

In 2017, the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia disclosed that the government was considering the construction of a new chamber for the legislative arm of government since the existing one appeared to lack structural integrity.

Bawumia had paid an unannounced visit to Parliament to assess the extent of damage to the building following heavy rain that left the roof of the chamber of Parliament ripped off in January 2017.

New chamber to accommodate 400 people

The Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Oquaye in March 2017 indicated that the new chamber will have a 400-seater capacity public gallery.

He noted then, that, an Indian construction firm, Shapoorji Pallonji, which built the Flagstaff House from 2006 to 2008, had already put a team of architects on site for feasibility studies and that would allow the company to present a proposal and drawings of the new facility to the leadership of Parliament to be studied for a possible approval.

At the time, he said the construction will be at a cost of $200 million and will be situated behind the Speaker’s block.