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Courthouse renovation plan OK'd

August 07, 1998|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - After reviewing architects' sketches and floor plans, the Berkeley County Commission on Thursday approved plans for the first phase of a renovation project at the Berkeley County Courthouse.

Michael L. Proffitt, of Proffitt & Pryor Architects in Frederick, Md., showed the commission plans for a 9-foot addition to accommodate an elevator and stairs, which he said was designed to blend in as much as possible with the existing building while meeting safety improvement needs.

It's the most visual aspect of the first phase, which also includes the electrical, plumbing and ventilation upgrades commissioners listed as top priority in the renovation effort, Proffitt said.

The Commission has $300,000 available for renovations to the 106-year-old courthouse.

While the courthouse is in compliance with building codes, there are no emergency exits upstairs, which violates fire codes, Proffitt said previously.

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The fire marshal has not issued violations, but told Proffitt what needs to be done during the renovations. Fire escapes must be added and the fire alarm and sprinkler system have to be upgraded, Proffitt said.

The commissioners have said their top priority is to bring the building into compliance while preserving its historical integrity.

After a space allocation study earlier this year, Proffitt gave the commission three long-term options:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Renovate the existing building into county offices and construct a new courthouse.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Renovate the courthouse and construct a new county office building.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Raze the next-door Circuit Court building and construct a major addition.

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