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Martinsburg building to reopen to public in June

May 08, 2001

Martinsburg building to reopen to public in June



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg

Ice cream social


-- Anyone who wants to attend the ice cream social at the old U.S District Courthouse and Post Office in Martinsburg, W.Va. on June 16 may call the Boarman Arts Center at 263-0224.

-- Tickets are $10. Reservations are needed. The first 100 people to buy tickets can attend. The event is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.




Some members of the community will have their first chance in 40 years to see the inside of the old U.S. District Courthouse and Post Office on King Street when the Boarman Arts Center holds an ice cream social there June 16.

The Boarman Arts Center, now located near King and Queen streets, will be given the 105-year-old building by the federal government. Planning and preliminary fund-raising is being done for the complex process of moving into the huge structure.

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As part of a Feast for the Arts series this summer, the ice cream social will be held at the building - which has not been open to the public since it was closed about 1961. The first 100 people who pay $10 each can attend the social. The number is limited because of fire code considerations, said Patricia Perez, arts center executive director.

The old building is being reviewed for specific changes that will be needed to make it comply with all fire code requirements and those of the Americans with Disabilities Act, officials said.

Consultants will be hired to review the compliance program. A group called the "Founding Fifty" has come together to donate $1,000 each to start the ball rolling on raising money. That money will match a special cultural facilities fund set up by the West Virginia Legislature.

It's uncertain how much will be needed to make the building into an arts center, but the current center is planning to have one more exhibit, then "go dark" so officials can focus on its ongoing education programs and the work necessary to move into the new building, Perez said.

"We are in the incredible intensity of planning" for the move, she said.

The building has not yet been officially been turned over to the arts center, she said. That will probably happen in early summer, when center officials hope to hold a "key ceremony."

Those involved are eager to make the old building suitable for many kinds of arts activities, but it will take some time, she said

"We want to do it quickly, but we want to do it the right way," she said. "I hope we can have our first kids running through the building next summer."

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