Hilton Garden Inn update
Temple's Hilton Garden Inn has been closed for months because of winter-related flooding. Hotel staff is planning a September reopening.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 11, 2021
“Eighty percent of the hotel had water damage. It was literally raining from the ceiling. ”
Hilton Garden Inn renovations are nearly complete; reopening in Sept.
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple exclusive
Seven months after the most extreme winter storm in Texas history ripped through Temple, one of the city’s finest hotels will soon reopen its doors.
Hilton Garden Inn, located on Scott Boulevard just across South 31st Street from Baylor Scott & White Memorial Hospital, was forced to shut down February 16 after two water lines broke during the unprecedented cold.
Flooding caused millions in damages and seven months of lost revenues, said Marilyn Gonzales, general manager. Hotel staff are planning a reopening in mid September.
“Two pipes burst — part of our fire sprinkler system and then a domestic water pipe,” Gonzales said. “We had to evacuate the entire building.”
That meant sending people back into the winter elements they had come to the hotel to escape.
“It started in the attic,” said Cassie Forbes, director of sales for the Garden Inn. “Eighty percent of the hotel had water damage. It was literally raining from the ceiling. We had at least six inches of water standing in places.”
Carpet and floor tiles, ceilings, plaster, insulation, furniture and much of the hotel’s electrical system were destroyed.
“There was a lot of damage,” Gonzales said. “We brought in a restoration team to start the clean up and remove water so the building didn’t develop a mold problem.”
More than a dozen portable storage pods were placed in the hotel’s parking lot and filled with furniture, mattresses and equipment while the hotel was gutted.
“We had to remove everything to get the old carpet out,” Forbes said. “We used the trailers for storage.”
Although the hotel had just finished a total renovation in August 2019, the decision was made to replace just about everything once again.
“We wanted all of our rooms to be consistent,” Gonzales said. “About 65 of our 133 rooms were flooded, but we replaced all the carpet, furniture and beds.”
Everything will be brand new for the hotel’s reopening.
“Actually,” Gonzales said, “it’s our re-reopening. We had just finished our big renovation, then COVID hit. Then the storm.”
Renovation work began almost immediately but had been a bit slow because of an ongoing labor crunch associated with COVID concerns.
“The sheetrock crew has been thin,” Gonzales said. “That sort of backed things up. Painters, for instance, couldn’t work until the sheet rock work was finished. But, it’s all moving along and we will reopen soon.”
Forbes and Gonzales both said the hotel is hiring many positions, but at least some of the staff has remained during the closure.
The hotel’s owners — Kenny and Bobby Bhakta of Temple — kept staff employed, Forbes said.
“There were some months where we didn’t have many hours, but there’s a lot to do now,” she said.
Indeed there is. The hotel’s 8,000-square-foot ballroom is sparkling new, as well as the rooms and many of the public areas. The entire hotel, including the Garden Grill & Bar restaurant, will be back in business in September.
A celebration of the reopening will be held around the first of 2022, Gonzales said.
Hilton Garden Inn opened in 2004 and is popular among business travelers and families of Baylor Scott & White patients.
Rolls of new carpet and bundles of fixtures wait to be installed inside Hilton Garden Inn in Temple. Portable storage pods in the hotel parking lot were filled with furniture and equipment during renovation.
“Walking doesn’t require a gym membership or special clothes and equipment. It’s readily available … and it’s very effective at improving health.”
Miranda Whitney of Temple takes Kassie for a morning walk. Experts say walking 150 minutes of a week can prolong your life and improve blood pressure.
Taking steps toward better health
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
Want to live longer? Get walking. That’s the advice of a Temple cardiac physician and the American Heart Association.
According to medical experts, taking more steps every day — either all at once or in short bursts — may help you live longer.
“Walking is a safe and easy way to improve your health — including your heart health,” said Dr. Jeffrey Michel, vice president of cardiovascular services at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center.
“Walking doesn’t require a gym membership or special clothes and equipment,” Michel said. “It’s readily available for most people, and it’s very effective at improving health.”
The American Heart Association's fitness guidelines for adults recommend at least 150 minutes per week of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity, or a combination of both.
Dr. Michel agrees.
“Just a small amount of walking is beneficial,” he said. “The more you do the better, but there is no need to become an athlete.
Michel said walking 30 minutes a day five days a week can have significant benefits.
“It’s a good medicine and the price is right,” he said.
Middle-aged people who routinely walk 150 minutes per week also have a 43 percent lower risk of diabetes and a 31 percent lower risk of high blood pressure, according to American Heart Association research.
Fitness apps and step counters — especially those on wearables such as Fitbit, Garmin and Apple Watch — make it easy to count steps, record distances and watch calories disappear.
Christopher C. Moore, an American Heart Association researcher, said technological advances have allowed doctors to measure short bursts of activity.
“In the past,” he said, “we were limited to only measuring activities people could recall on a questionnaire. With the help of wearable devices, more research is indicating that any type of movement is better than remaining sedentary.”
Older adults face many barriers to participating in structured exercise programs, Michel said.
“Some may find it more convenient and enjoyable to increase everyday walking behaviors, like parking slightly further from their destination or doing some extra housework or yard work.”
What’s happening, Temple?
August 13, Friday - SmokinMaxx Carter live at Fire Base Brewing Co. 6:30 p.m.
August 13, Friday - Bell County Cutting Horse Show, Bell County Expo Center Equine/Livestock Complex.
August 13, Friday - Karaoke Night at Spare Time, 9 p.m.
August 13, Friday - Love Connection Matchmaking at Corky’s. 7:30 p.m.
August 13, Friday - Broken Time & Midnight Tradesmen at O’Briens. Two hot Bell County Bands! 9 p.m.
August 13, Friday - Bell County Kennel Club, Bell County Expo Center.
August 13, Friday - Hyway Traveler, Bo’s Barn Dance Hall, 8 p.m.
August 14, Saturday - Clear the Shelter animal adoption event. Temple Animal Shelter. Noon to 4 p.m.
Saturday - Downtown Temple Farmer’s Market. 2 N. Main Street. 8 a.m.
August 14, Saturday - Bell County Kennel Club, Bell County Expo Center.
August 14, Saturday - Texas Senior Pro Rodeo, Bell County Expo Center Equine/Livestock Complex.
August 14, Saturday - Name That Tune Bingo at Fire Base Brewing Co. Featuring mixtapes of the 1980s and 90s. 7:30 p.m.
August 14, Saturday - The Damn Moore Boys & Co. at O’Briens. 9 p.m.
August 14, Saturday - Broken Arrow at Bo’s Barn Dance Hall, 9 p.m.
August 15, Sunday - Bell County Kennel Club, Bell County Expo Center.
August 15, Sunday - Texas Senior Pro Rodeo, Bell County Expo Center Equine/Livestock Complex.
August 16, Monday - Short Story Reading Group at Temple Public Library. 6 p.m.
August 17, Tuesday - An evening with winemaker Tom Parmeson of Parmeson Wines. Four-course wine dinner at Pignetti’s. 6:45 p.m.
August 17, Tuesday - Taroks Card Party and Lessons at Czech Heritage Museum and Genealogy Center. Learn and play the 1400’s European card game brought to Texas by Czechs in the 1800s. 7 p.m.
August 19, Thursday - Temple City Council, City Hall. 5 p.m.
August 20, Friday - Coffee with a Cop, Bella Blue Cafe, 7-10 a.m.
August 21, Saturday - Bob Schneider, Texas Music Series,Cultural Activities Center. 7:30 p.m.
September 11, Saturday - Pink Fishing’s Reeling in the Cure, 6th annual bass tournament. Proceeds benefit breast cancer patients and cancer research. Cedar Ridge Park. 6 a.m. Call (254) 681-0102 for details.
September 18, Saturday - Dale Watson, Texas Music Series,Cultural Activities Center. 7:30 p.m.
October 9, Saturday - Shinyribs, Texas Music Series,Cultural Activities Center. 7:30 p.m.
November 6, Saturday - Chris Hillman, Texas Music Series,Cultural Activities Center. 7:30 p.m.
Have an event you would like to promote? Email info to OurTownTemple@gmail.com with “What’s Happening” in the subject line. Keep it short and sweet — what, when and where. You may include a short description. You must include a phone number for verification purposes. The phone number will not be published unless requested by submitter.
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