Welcome...Gore residents Anne Hunt (left) and Olive Sinclair stand behind the new reception area in the revamped Gore District Council office building. PHOTO:SANDY EGGLESTON

The hundreds of people who wandered around Gore’s civic building on Friday will now have more of an idea of what a $6.02 million makeover looks like.

The council held an open afternoon for residents to look through the building, which opens for business today.

Communications and marketing manager Sonia Gerken said about 200 people turned up to walk through the building which was pleasing.

“We were really blown away by the number of people that came through,” Mrs Gerken said.

“When I was here without exception the comments were all really positive.”

The new building is 210sqm larger than the original offices and will accommodate 45 staff over two floors.

There are seven meeting rooms: five for staff and public use, and two interview rooms in the foyer.

The foyer also features two kiosks where customers will be able to access the council’s online services.

Some of the features of the building include audiovisual systems in all the meeting rooms, air conditioning and new ergonomic furniture.

Chief executive Stephen Parry said the forecast final cost was $6.02 million, which was about $20,000 over budget. The project would be funded by a loan.

“As with any major renovation project there are some unforeseen items absorbed into the budget,” Mr Parry said.

In 2018, $5million for the project was set aside in the long-term plan, and in November 2019 councillors accepted tenders for just under $6million for the project, he said.

Covid-19 had been one of the biggest challenges of the build, causing supply chain issues for specialist materials, Mr Parry said.

“The weather caused a few holdups as well, as can happen with any building project.”

There were mixed reactions from residents who toured the building.

Olive Sinclair said it was a “fabulous” building and the contractors should be pleased with the result.

However, she wondered about the cost of the building and how much rates would go up to pay for it.

“Can’t help wondering if there hadn’t been another practical way to keep costs down.

“That’s a real luxury building.”

Anne Gover, Harm Kugel and Des Allott said they were impressed with the building.

“The toilet block is fascinating,” Mr Kugel said.

“Functional but not over the top,” Mrs Gover said.

“I think it’s [money] spent very wisely.”

“The building has a great ambience which is due to plenty of light flooding in through the large windows, open plan work area and indoor plants,” Mr Allott said.

“Workplaces have to be happy.”