GAMBIER — The offices for the village of Gambier reopened this week — with a remodeled look greeting customers — as has the rest of the agencies inside the Gambier Community Center. That includes Head Start within the past week and the community library.
The village offices have new windows that did not exist before, including one in the office of Village Administrator RC Wise, and another new one for the new mayor’s office. The mayor’s office is walled in and used to be the open area occupied by Village Assistant/Utility Clerk Courtney DeCosky. Village council President Betsy Heer was a strong proponent of new windows to allow in more natural light. More light brings a “bright and cheery” feel to it, she offered.
DeCosky now occupies a space that greets visitors when they walk in, complete with new counters and Plexiglass for protection in the age of COVID-19. Wearing masks is required and workers must have their temperatures checked.
The flooring is also new. The spartan-sized room in one of the corners of the offices, once occupied by the former mayor, Kachen Kimmell, who kept office hours on Wednesdays, is being converted into a meeting room.
Planning for the remodeled Gambier offices started in earnest in late February, when the contractor, DeZign Unlimited of Galena, put in a winning bid of $38,912 to take on a project designed by Project Architecture Ltd. of Hebron. That amount was considerably less than the bids of Claggett and Sons, at $54,500, and Modern Builders, $65,800.
The village was prepared to spend up to $50,000 on the project. Work on the actual remodeling didn’t begin in full until June, due to the community center’s closure related to the coronavirus. Wise and DeCosky worked from their homes for a time during the stay-at-home order.
Village council and committee meetings were and still are held in a hybrid form — some members attending in person and some remotely. The office furnishings and equipment of both Wise and DeCosky were temporarily stored for a time in council chambers once construction began, which meant that the most recent Gambier monthly council meeting, always the first Monday of the month, had to be held in the center’s gymnasium. So seeing the new offices remodeled so quickly once construction began was a welcome site, Wise offered.
The mayor’s office has yet to see its office furniture come in, but Wise said that is OK for now. Mayor Leeman Kessler works out of his home much of the time being a stay-at-home dad, “so he’s not too worried about it yet,” Wise said.
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