C.H. Lightbody Medical Building to become Guilford municipal office
GUILFORD — Charles “Harry” Lightbody was a respected and active member of the town of Guilford throughout his successful career, including his time as chief of the medical staff at Mayo Regional Hospital. Dr. Lightbody taught students at his medical practice, now affectionately called the C.H. Lightbody Medical Building located on Park Street — a landmark in the town. Having been financed by local industry, individual gifts and Mayo Regional Hospital, the building eventually became home to Guilford Medical Associates which leased the building from the town for a number of years. Earlier this year the building became vacant when Guilford Medical Associates closed its doors permanently.
Since then the board of selectpersons and Town Manager David Wilson have been contemplating what tenant might be best suited for the space. There was consideration of leasing the building to the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office, which had been seeking to relocate the patrol division. According to Wilson, the department opted to go a different route.
After much consideration, Wilson saw an option he believed to be the most logical. The town of Guilford would retain the C.H. Lightbody Medical Building, relocate the municipal offices there and provide the existing town office space on School Street to the fire/EMS service already housed there. Wilson made the recommendation and the select board endorsed the decision.
“This makes the most sense,” explained Wilson. “We wanted to keep the building as a part of the town, and we believe we couldn’t honor Dr. Lightbody any better than to make this building the ‘face of the town.’”
Wilson went on to explain that the existing town office lacks storage space and has met capacity for both the municipal offices and the fire department. “We’re bursting at the seams,” he explained, “there is simply no archival storage; I don’t want to see important historical documents damaged or destroyed.”
He also explained that the C.H. Lightbody Medical Building with its modern design, upgraded IT and utilities, will serve the town far better than the existing structure. “When you walk into the building, you immediately experience the professional atmosphere and comfortable feeling of the building,” he said, “and the best part is, it is already owned by the town.”
Wilson stated, “In the interest of economic growth and how we present ourselves to Guilford residents and visitors, this is the best possible outcome for the building,” adding, “the most important piece of this endeavor is that it doesn’t cost anything.”
“There are very few times, if any, that a town can get ahead of the curve and revitalize how it is perceived by the public with no cost to the taxpayers; you can’t really get any better,” he said.
Wilson also explained that the Guilford municipal offices will not require use of the entire C.H. Lightbody Medical Building, which means space will be available for other purposes, such as “co-op” space. He said, “We can provide a number of businesses with a variety of options for office space with a shared meeting area, a community break room and private bathroom facilities.”
The town manager believes the foot traffic to and from the new municipal office will be of great benefit to the businesses who lease space at the new location.
“We wanted to honor Dr. Lightbody,” Wilson said, “and what better way to do so than to have Guilford residents visit the building that was dedicated to him on a daily basis?”
Wilson noted there would be no disruption of services during the transition, which will take several weeks. The goal is to complete the move before December.