A new $8 million building for the Ministry of Environment located next to NagaWorld, facing Diamond Island, is set to officially open in February 2016 in an attempt to meet the need for more office space with modern facilities, said an official.
“We plan to complete the construction at the end of 2015. Based on schedule, it is almost completely done. Recently, we have equipped furniture and started cleaning. Officers from every department can gradually move in,” said Sao Sopheap, a spokesman for the Ministry of Environment.
The new white building – called “Morotok Techo” or “Techo’s Legacy” – began construction in July 2014 and was contracted out to Daun Penh Construction. Built on 6,750 square metres of state land, the seven-storey building, which includes basement parking, will provide larger office spaces for some 600 employees.
“The building provides 18,300 square metres of space, of which 15,000 square metres is office space,” said Sopheap.
According to the spokesman, the new building is part of reforms initiated by Say Samal, the youngest Minister in Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cabinet, and will strengthen the productivity of the Ministry of Environment.
“We have undertaken a lot of institutional reforms, but we lack hard infrastructure for our officials and leadership,” he said.
The current office building, located on Sihanouk Boulevard near the Independence Monument, was a mere three storeys with only 3000 square metres of office space - making it five times smaller than the new facility.
“As you can see, the current office is an old building without enough space to do our work. Our officials are often absent from their work, but it is difficult to blame them because if they all come to work, there are not enough seats,” he said.
The new building has been designed with both traditional Khmer elements and modern concepts that save on electricity and are more environmentally sustainable.
“We have put a lot of thought into being environmentally friendly. With a balance of concrete and windows that can deflect sunlight, while keeping the building insulated, we can reduce our electricity consumption. Besides that, we have energy efficient air-conditioning units, Japanese-made LED lights and smart technology that also reduces energy consumption,” he said.
Asked about public perception of the ministry being so close to NagaWorld, Sopheap calmly said, “I thank their criticism.”
“In this area there is not only the office of the Ministry of Environment, but also the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the National Assembly, as well as the Australian Embassy.”
Initially, the new office building of the Ministry of Environment was planned to be located on National Road 1 after Ratana Corporation and Construction acquired the land on Sihanouk Boulevard, promising to build the new building in the outskirts of the city.
However, it was relocated in 2014 to the new location after Say Samal took the office in 2013.