BRISTOL, Va. - Protective paper still covered new floor and carpet as Bristol, Virginia Mayor Guy Odum took us on a personal tour to show us what they've done with the place after a burst pipe flooded city hall last November.
"People thought it might've been an earthquake," Odum said. "It popped tiles out of the floor and then water was going everywhere."
That wayward water did permanent damage to walls. "We've removed the walls and put a nice hallway in with offices off to the side," Odum said. "Which makes it a lot more professional looking for a city hall."
It's a complete remodel from top to bottom. And one of the real illuminating advantages of this project: some crafty employees helped with lighting, carpentry, and flooring work. "Using the employees saved us money," Odum said. "So we're pretty close to the insurance payments. So it didn't cost the citizens any extra money."
What were open cubicles before are now individual offices, so the Mayor says employee morale is also spruced up. "The other was like a 1960s-era look to it," City Engineer Wallace McCulloch said. "It was kind of sterile and not really inviting. Now it's definitely a different atmosphere in the office."
And likely a different atmosphere for citizens who stop at city hall.
City employees moved into the renovated city hall a few days ago. Mayor Odum told us there are only a few cosmetic, finishing touches left on the project.