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Firm will develop design for possible new Jefferson courthouse

May 28, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A local architectural firm will come up with a design for a possible new Jefferson County courthouse complex that would be built in the downtown area.

Because it is early in the design process, Helbing Lipp Architects Engineers will develop a generic design for a new court complex that could be built somewhere around the current Jefferson County Courthouse at the corner of George and Washington streets downtown, Jefferson County Commission President Jane Tabb said recently.

There are at least three different sites for the complex, Tabb said.

One site could be along Liberty Street facing the old Schewel Furniture building, Tabb said.

Another site could be along Washington Street and could involve removing part of the Mason Building, Commissioner James G. Knode said.

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A third site could involve tearing down the former Jefferson County Jail along George Street and facing the court complex toward the Jefferson County Magistrate Court building, Tabb said.

The commissioners agreed May 15 to pay Helbing Lipp Architects Engineers $8,213 to come up with the preliminary plans, Tabb said.

The possibility of tearing down the jail to make room for more court office space still is up in the air.

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Thomas W. Steptoe Jr. recently ruled that an injunction stopping the demolition of the jail cannot be lifted until the Jefferson County Commission calls for a historical review of the jail.

The commission has contacted the state Division of Culture and History about how to conduct a review but has not received a response from the agency, the commissioners said earlier this month.

Commissioner Greg Corliss said the commission should get in contact with Charles Town city officials about parking possibilities at a new courthouse.

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