by: Photo By Holly M. Gill - Dustin George, left, owner of L3 Construction, of Madras, and Cliff Reynolds, owner of the Best Western, discuss the remodel project.

   A major exterior and interior remodel is well under way at the Madras Best Western Inn on Southwest Fourth Street.
   "It was time to expand," said Clifford Reynolds, of Madras, who purchased the motel with his mother Joanne Reynolds in 2005.
   The expansion won't add rooms to the 47-room motel -- in fact it's losing two rooms -- but it will add convenience and amenities for visitors.
   During the remodel, the office is temporarily housed in one of the motel rooms, as the contractor -- L3 Construction, of Madras -- guts the former office to make way for a roomier office and lobby, and an expanded breakfast room and business center, featuring sleek new cabinets and a tile floor.
   On the second-story addition, above the office, visitors will now have the option of staying fit with a treadmill, eliptical machine and exercise bicycle in the new fitness room.
   "It's a slower year, so we thought by revamping the motel, we might be able to capture more business," he said. "We're trying to stay competitive."
   From November through January, guest rooms in the local franchise were all remodeled. "We took down wallpaper, retextured, painted, and put up new artwork," he said. Counters were replaced with granite, beds were converted to pillowtops, and new bedding was purchased.
   "Companywide, they're trying to update their look," Reynolds explained. "Under 60 rooms, they're trying to turn them into a boutique look."
   Best Western is the largest and oldest hotel chain in the world, he noted, with over 4,000 properties in 80 different countries. "They're all independently owned," he added.
   About every five years, the company comes out with a new design guide punch list, but "everything comes out of pocket," he said.
   While the current remodeling project will cost over $700,000, Reynolds is saving money by serving as his own general contractor, and finding local people to do the work.
   "We try to use local builders -- all local contractors," said Reynolds. "It's important if you're going to build something; you want to try to use the people around you locally. You can build up a better business relationship."
   Although the exterior and office remodeling was started the second week of March, he expects it to be finished by the this month.
   "We're actually ahead of time," he said. "We'll probably be done by the end of the month."
   The stucco work on the newly completed exterior will take about six weeks, he said. When budget constraints allow, he intends to finish work on the exterior of the motel with more stucco.
   "We'll probably start up again next spring," he said optimistically.
   The motel opened in the mid-1970s as a Nendel's, with 47 rooms, and converted to Best Western in 1996. He currently has three full-time and eight part-time employees.
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