By Barbie Porter
The Vergas Event Center remodel is nearing completion.
“This has been the easiest going project I’ve worked on,” said Julie Lammers, Vergas city clerk. “It’s amazing how smooth this project has went.”
During the Vergas Event Center Committee meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 9, Lammers went on to applaud Summers Construction for giving the city ongoing updates without being prompted throughout the project.
The construction company with an A+ rating at the Better Business Bureau offered to do the project at cost to show appreciation for the community the business is located in. Keeping with the community support theme, Lammers added all the project materials were purchased in Vergas, either from Franklin Fence or Vergas Hardware.
This week a window is scheduled to be replaced on the event center before the front can be finished next week, weather permitting. Then, the work will be done until the spring.
“In the spring they will do some painting of doors,” Lammers said. “And, the front brick came in, but it was the wrong color.”
She noted the difference is minor, and only on the front of the building.
“The backside (near the basketball court) is correct and completed,” she said.
The contractor reordered the correct siding for the front of the building. The wrong siding will remain in place for the winter and the correct one installed in the spring.
Once the final costs come in, the committee will turn its focus on the kitchen remodeling project. One big ticket item is installing a large door that separates the kitchen from the main gathering area. The purpose of the door is so when a meal service is complete the door can be pulled down and while clean up is going on in the kitchen those in the meeting will not be disrupted from the noise.
The committee also discussed the Smart Room that is being installed in the council chambers, which is the smaller gathering space near the entrance.
Lammers recapped how the city came to get the Smart Room. Otter Tail County worked with the Blandin Foundation to get the grant to provide broadband service to rural areas. The county was selected for the grant and the city applied to the county and was awarded the Smart Room. She noted Battle Lake also received the perk which includes a Smart TV, mounted computer and accessories, microphones and speakers.
The committee discussed how it would proceed with allowing access to the room, which must be permitted for free in certain instances, such as kids without internet utilizing the room for studies.
Discussion was had about contacting the city office for access and having room usage hours be from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Consideration was given to locking other areas of the event center when not in use, such as the main room and stage area. They also discussed installing a security camera in the Smart Room.
Lammers said the Viking Library system is overseeing the broadband portion of the project and working with area internet providers. When the internet is in place, the residents will be able to access it outside of the event center, even during hours when the building is closed. It was noted the internet access is limited to what one can see at a library, meaning some websites will be allowed.
Lammers noted the council approved the contract and the room is set for installation, after some items are removed. She explained the back wall needs to be clear. The committee agreed to recommend the council consider selling unneeded items, such as an older model TV, at the annual Bachmann Auction in the spring.
Lammers also reported the event center is seeing some bookings, with a meeting planned for January and possibly something in February.