New Temporary Community Day Centre in Mfuleni
The new Mfuleni temporary community day centre (CDC), currently being built by the Department of Transport and Public Works, is scheduled for completion at the end of July 2015. It is expected to open its doors to the public in the coming weeks. The project is a model of sustainable design for temporary buildings. The structure is “plug and play”, i.e. it is comprised of modular components that can be assembled in different configurations, moved, refitted and reused.
The R25 million building was commissioned in April 2014 as a fast-track project to alleviate severe service delivery constraints at the existing Mfuleni clinic. This new facility will operate until such time as a permanent CDC has been built. Planning for the permanent facility is scheduled to start in the 2018/19 financial year.
The primary challenge was to provide additional capacity very quickly. The project was designed and implemented in little over a year. This is a very impressive achievement given the scale and complexity of the project. The City of Cape Town provided a vacant site for the facility in an area earmarked for future urban upgrading and the development of sport and recreational facilities. It is planned that once the permanent CDC is complete, the Department will hand over the building to the City for use as a multi-purpose community hall.
The temporary CDC includes 63 shipping containers converted for use as consulting rooms and for other clinical and support functions. The facility boasts a fully fitted dental surgery, a pharmacy, as well as specialist treatment areas for acute conditions and for woman and child health care. Half of the containers come from the Du Noon temporary CDC where the Department built its first “container clinic” out of reusable parts.
A service passage runs between the inside edge of the hall and the containers to provide access for plumbing and electrical maintenance. Each container is lined in metal-clad insulation and fronted by a standard glazed sliding door. The containers are largely prefabricated off site and can be individually disconnected from utility services and reused. Similarly, the stairs and walkways can be dismantled for use in another location. The hall design maximises natural light and natural ventilation. Mechanical ventilation further mitigates the risks of airborne infectious diseases such as tuberculosis.
The fast-track nature of the project required the off-site prefabrication of containers. For this reason, fewer jobs were created than is usually the case in the Department’s projects. However, there were a number of tangible economic benefits for the community. The contractor was required to employ 50% local unskilled labour on the site, a process facilitated by a local community liaison officer. The Department-led design team actively involved the community by commissioning mosaics for the facility from local artists and by featuring art works produced by local school children.
The Western Cape Government and the City of Cape Town collaborated in the design and implementation of the project so that it meets a number of shared goals. This gives effect to the provincial strategic goal “integrated service delivery through partnerships and spatial alignment”. The new facility is expected to be a catalyst for broader municipal upgrading plans for the immediate area.