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Berkeley County names committee to study building issue

February 08, 2001|By BOB PARTLOW

Berkeley County names committee to study building issue



MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The Berkeley County Commission Thursday appointed 27 members to a committee that will study construction of a new county government building, possibly a judicial center.

Local elected and appointed officials will be part of the committee, along with two citizens and a retired contractor, to study the need for the building, as well as location, financing and other issues.

The committee will meet next month, then break into five subcommittees to study various issues in-depth.

The commissioners also agreed to have an environmental hygienist study possible bad air problems at their building at 110 W. King St. Employees in the building had voiced the same health-related concerns that led the county to spend $10,000 to fix bad air at the adjacent building at 126 W. King St.

The county also will test for radon in the courthouse, commissioners decided.

Because of concerns about county buildings, Commissioner John Wright said he wants the county consider leasing the Boarman Arts Center building, across the street from the courthouse. The arts center will be moving into the old Federal Building and Post Office on King Street.

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"I think it's an option," Wright said. Several county building have problems that may require employees to be relocated, he said. Use of that building makes sense, he said.

But Commission President Howard Strauss said the county has spent too much on leasing and buying buildings over the past decade when a long-term fix such as a judicial center is a better answer.

"It's a nice historic building, but it's a house," Strauss said.

It would need considerable work to make it compliant with the Americans for Disabilities Act requirements, he said.

He would only agree to lease the building as a last resort, he said

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