Berkeley County judicial complex ideas unveiled

April 19, 2001

Berkeley County judicial complex ideas unveiled

By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg

Berkeley County Commission President Howard Strauss Thursday unveiled the commission's initial ideas for a 120,000-square-foot judicial center that would be complete by December 2004.

Strauss, who is leading the charge for the new building, presented the ideas at a half-hour meeting of elected officials and others appointed to recommend what kind of building is needed, where it will go and how it will be financed.

"We know we need it," Strauss said after outlining several problems he believes a new building would solve.

Among those problems are security for county employees and judicial personnel, handling the huge population growth in the county, eliminating three of the seven downtown buildings and eliminating confusion among citizens about the location of judicial activities. The building would be designed for anticipated needs through 2014.

"Having it in one place is going to make it user-friendly," he said.


Strauss, the other two county commissioners and the county's staff have developed a 22-step process that would lead to the start of construction in September 2002 and completion by late 2004. Strauss said the building probably would be in the 100 block of West King Street across from the Berkeley County Courthouse complex.

The City of Martinsburg will conduct a study of parking and traffic flow through the city and those results will be reviewed as part of the planning process.

The commissioners put $200,000 in their 2001-02 budget as seed money to study the need and assess the specific space requirements for offices.

Strauss said he envisions the building being used for several judicial functions, including Magistrate Court and Circuit Court, bailiffs, probation, the Prosecuting Attorney's Office, family law activities and 911 Central Dispatch.

A seven-member steering committee of the 27-member committee will guide the initial efforts. The first chore will be to prepare a request for proposals for an architectural firm to assess need and space requirements.

That assessment and plans based on it could be ready by this fall. The officials will decide how to pay for it. That process could take several months, with bids on the project set for summer 2002.

The steering committee

Those who will help guide the process on the steering committee of the Judicial Center Committee include:

  • Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely.
  • Berkeley County Engineer Bucky Teach.
  • Berkeley County Historical Society President Don Wood.
  • Berkeley County Circuit Court Judge Christopher Wilkes.
  • Retired contractor and businessman Jack Scally.
  • Berkeley County Commission attorney Norwood Bentley III.
  • Martinsburg City Manager Mark Baldwin.
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