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Boarman Arts Center moving into old federal building

January 18, 2001

Boarman Arts Center moving into old federal building



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - After 40 years, the old Federal Building and Post Office on King Street will be open again to the public, this time as an arts center.

The Boarman Arts Center has been notified the U.S. Department of Education will be given the building by the federal General Services Administration, which has declared it surplus property, said Patricia Perez, art center executive director.

The Department of Education will then turn the building over to the art center, she said.

"The Education Department will get it at no expense and give it to us at no expense," Perez said.

Although money will be needed to upgrade some parts of the facility to make it accessible to the disabled and meet fire and other codes, grant money is available and matching local money will be sought.

"We are getting a first-class arts center for a very low price," Perez said.

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The 105-year-old building is in remarkable shape, she said. It has highly polished floors, slate hearths, huge hallways and rooms and an old manually operated elevator that still works.

"This just says 'arts center,'" she said.

She stressed the Boarman Arts Center, now near King and Queen streets, hopes to use the facility to encourage activities in the community, from programs to exhibits.

"This is not Boarman's art center. This is the community's art center," she said. "I can't stress that enough. We don't plan to run the arts programs out of there. We plan to support the arts programs."

Once all the legal details of the transfer are complete, money will be raised, consultants hired and plans made to refurbish the building. That could begin this spring.

"I hope by spring 2002 we'll be able to start having programs there,' Perez said.

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