Pocahontas Commissioners Review Courthouse Options

Marlinton, WV – Upgrade, relocate or build. Those were the three options presented to Pocahontas County Commissioners by the designers at WYK and Associates to address space and safety concerns in the courthouse during Tuesday’s commission meeting. Throughout the current courthouse complex, WYK found that in addition to overcrowded offices and inadequate storage, the courthouse and adjacent county buildings do not comply with the accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Engineers from WYK also cited several fire safety concerns, from inadequate fire separation between offices and potentially faulty wiring to the absence of a fire suppression system. To bring the current courthouse complex up to current safety and energy efficiency standards would cost just over $2 million, according to WYK’s estimates.

Jail – Keep or Tear Down

At the top of WYK’s list of safety concerns are the former jail and Sheriff’s residence behind the courthouse. To bring these buildings up to current code would cost an additional $700,000. Because of the extent of repairs necessary to bring these buildings into compliance, WYK is recommending that the county consider tearing them down.

The firm says the newly available land would be an ideal site for an annex that would relieve the space and storage needs for county offices. The plan outlined by WYK to build a new annex and upgrade current facilities is the most costly of the three options, coming in at just over $6.5 million.

Relocating non-mandated offices outside the courthouse and into downtown Marlinton was the cheapest option evaluated by WYK, at just under $400,000. But the firm said such a move could cause confusion in the public about which offices are where.

Commissioners and WYK representatives discussed at length potential upgrades to the existing courthouse to reduce climate control costs, add fire suppression and make upgrades to the electrical and lighting systems. Commissioners took no action on the recommendations from WYK.

Other County Commission Actions

At Tuesday’s meeting, the commission approved several requests for funding, including a$5,000 matching contribution to the Linwood Library. Library supporters exceeded the commission’s matching challenge by raising $6,180.

A request from North Central Community Action for $7,500 to help fund a Group Work Camp in June and $500 for its annual kids fishing derby was approved, as well.

The commission also approved a $100 budget revision to create a marketing and advertising budget within the Extension Office. This funding will be directed toward advertising for local farmers markets. The commission plans to add another $500 budget revision for this purpose to the new budget that begins in July.

Commissioners approved a $2,000 request through Pocahontas Drama Fairs and Festivals in support of the Marlinton Mural Project.

And the commission approved a $5,000 resolution in support of the Humane Society’s application to the Governor’s Community Participation Grant program for the animal shelter in Marlinton.

The Commission authorized a survey and transfer of approximately six acres at the Green Bank industrial park to the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Authority. This property would then be leased to Allegheny Disposal, as the company prepares to expand is operation from the three acres it is currently leasing.

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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