After surviving fire, visitors center is getting a facelift

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Ojai Valley News photo by Perry Van Houten
LPFA volunteers Bert Rapp (left), Renee Rapp and LPFA Ojai chapter president Gordie Hemphill work on the Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center remodel.
Perry Van Houten, Ojai Valley News reporter
When the dust settles at his little outpost in the forest, Gordie Hemphill says it will be just like the great outdoors — open and airy and full of things to explore.
In mid-January, Hemphill and a handful of volunteers launched a remodeling project at the Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center (WGVC), operated by the nonprofit Los Padres Forest Association (LPFA).
They've been working eight-hour days on weekends and some weekdays to finish the project by mid-April.
The project involves removing the low ceiling to expose the rafters, “to give it a more open feeling throughout the whole building,” said Hemphill, president of the Ojai chapter of LPFA.
While his team went about installing insulation and new lighting March 24, Hemphill looked around and appeared pleased with the progress.
“We've come a long way in just a few months,” he said.

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