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Commissioner disputes architectural study of old jail

March 24, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The debate continues over whether the old Jefferson County Jail is worth more left standing or torn down.

Doug Estepp, one of a group of people trying to save the jail from demolition, briefed the Jefferson County Commission last Thursday about a team of architects who recently evaluated the jail for possible renovation.

The architects concluded that the cost to demolish the jail and to reconstruct another building of similar size and quality would cost between $930,000 and about $1.3 million, said Estepp, member of Jefferson County Preservation Alliance to Save Our Heritage.

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Leaving the building intact and performing an interior redesign of the building at the corner of George and Liberty Streets would cost between $228,000 and $456,000, Estepp said.

Redesigning the building instead of razing it would save county taxpayers between $702,000 and $834,000, said Estepp, who favors saving the jail and using it for a community building of some sort.

Jefferson County Commissioner Al Hooper said the problem with the architects' evaluation is that they did not compute how much space the county would have if it erected a new building at the site.

"It's not a complete study," Hooper said.

Hooper said he has determined that leaving the facade of the jail in place and building a new structure onto it, one of several alternatives considered as a way to save the jail, would mean the loss of 10,000 square-feet of space at the site, Hooper said.

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