Pocahontas Commissioners Discuss Cost Of New Courthouse Elevator

Marlinton, WV – At their meeting Tuesday, the Pocahontas County Commissioners got an update on courthouse renovation projects from WYK Associates, the architectural firm in charge of the work. With courthouse roof repairs nearing completion, the Commission is starting to think about the next big project – installing an elevator.

The project as presented by WYK architect James Swiger would also include an enclosed ramp, storage space, and ADA compliant bathrooms. Commission President Martin Saffer is concerned all those extras could blow the budget allotted for the project. Swiger says they are willing to put together alternatives to this plan, scaling the level of construction to the amount of funding available. He’s also mindful of the potential pitfalls of such a project.

“It’s a messy project, there’s no question about that” says Swiger. “And there will be surprises, I’ll guarantee that right now. You know, you’re digging five feet [down] beside an existing 100 year plus old building – you try to anticipate. We do have contingency built into that cost.”

Swiger says the project could go out for bid as early as the end of January. WYK also requested a revision of their architectural fees for the work on the elevator and lighting at the courthouse. The Commission agreed to pay $18,850.00 for the work on the elevator, but tabled the lighting project for now.

WYK was also one of three companies that responded to an ad for bids to do architectural and engineering drawings for the One Room University, to be housed at City National Bank in Marlinton. The Commission also received responses from Sillings Associates of Charleston, and John Smith, an architect in New York who has family here.

Pocahontas County Coordinator Jay Miller says CNB requires the drawings to be part of a lease agreement for the project. In their letter, Sillings declined to bid on the project, and WYK didn’t specify an amount in their bid. Therefore, Miller recommended approval of the bid from John Smith for $4,500.00 for this first phase of the project. $2000.00 of the cost comes from a contribution from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and the rest will come out of Millers travel budget. The Commissioners approved the expenditure.

In other business, the Commission approved conservation easements on properties owned by Joel Callison, Cadwell Tyler, Steve Morton, Fred Kesler and John Crane. They range in size from 14 acres up to 114 acres and go for about $1000.00 per acre with a couple of exceptions. Commissioner David Fleming asked FPB secretary Kristin Kinnison about the difference.

“Most of them are on exactly $1000.00 per acre with the exception of Fred Kesler and Joel Callison” says Fleming. “Joel Callison’s is 65 acres, but instead of $65,000.00 it’s $69,908.00.”

“Right” says Kinnison. “There’s was the first application taken in and at the time the county was 50% of the appraised value, and theirs appraised at a little more than 2000.00 per acre, [around] 2200.00. And after that [the FPB] put a cap at $2000.00.”

She says after these properties and three others are paid for, the FPB will still have $321,000.00 left in their budget.

The Commissioners also took the following actions Tuesday:

Wrote a letter of support in favor of single district representation in the West Virginia House of Delegates

Approved a letter of support for the county Water Resource Task Force application for Title 2 Safe and Secure rural school funds

And passed a motion to sponsor a 2011 wv trails grant application

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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