Officials weigh space needs in Jefferson County

February 12, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson County Commission members say they are considering four proposals to build new office space downtown - a project that could cost up to $30 million.

The commissioners discussed the proposals Thursday. They have been studying ways to build new office space downtown for close to three years.

A Jefferson County magistrate complained to the commission two years ago about dwindling courtroom space.

Court space has been running tight even though a $2 million Jefferson County Magistrate Court complex was opened along George Street about four years ago.


The four proposals being considered are:

  • Move county offices to a new location in the city.

  • Tear down the old Jefferson County Jail at the corner of George and Liberty streets to make room for new office space.

  • Save the old jail and incorporate it into a new office complex. That proposal also calls for tearing down a string of county office buildings along West Washington Street.

  • Leave the string of existing buildings along West Washington Street in place, but tear down the Mason building. Several county offices, including the Sheriff's Department, are in the Mason building.

Commissioner Greg Corliss said he likes the third option because it saves the jail, "which I am a strong advocate of."

The commission is considering tearing down a string of buildings along West Washington Street where some county offices are because they are inefficient, Commissioner James G. Knode said.

The assessor's office, Planning Zoning and Engineering, Sheriff's Department, and Parks and Recreation are in the buildings. Modifications have been made to some of the operations as office space demands have changed.

If the buildings are demolished along West Washington Street, the plan calls for building a structure that would be set back farther from the street, Knode said.

One of the advantages to that is it would make the historic Jefferson County Courthouse next door more visually appealing, Knode said.

The commissioners decided to set up a meeting with Charles Town officials to get their reaction to the plans, Knode said.

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