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Dunn good - Commission meets in new county building

October 08, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Some of the cords don't lead anywhere yet and the chairs are likely temporary, but the members of the Berkeley County Commission said their first meeting in their new building Thursday was a success.

A week ahead of schedule, the morning meeting was the first ever to be held in the Dunn Building, a former warehouse and shopping outlet mall that one day will house most county offices.

"It's a dream come true," Commissioner Howard Strauss said.

Next week, planning commission offices will be moved, followed by engineering department offices the week afterward, Strauss said.

The last offices to be moved will be the tax department and the assessor's offices, which are expected to be moved next spring, Strauss said.

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During and after the meeting, employees of a local moving company continued to haul in boxes and other items from the county commissioners' current King Street offices several blocks away.

The smell of fresh paint was prevalent and students from Shepherd Community and Technical College, which is in the same building, studied a floor below.

The new quarters are larger than the former meeting room in the historic courthouse at the corner of King and Queen streets in downtown Martinsburg.

Strauss said he one day would like to install theater-style chairs with push-up padded seats. He said he also envisions decorating the room's walls, now barren, with local artwork.

Commission President Steve Teufel said keeping the county offices in Martinsburg - which he called the county's "epicenter" - was a conscious decision.

He predicts the move could spur further economic development within the city, especially on adjacent streets. The Dunn Building is at the intersection of Stephen and Raleigh streets.

"I've been looking forward to it for a while," Teufel said of the move. "We're building the future here."

Originally, the commissioners planned to hold their first meeting in the new quarters next week, to coincide with the start of early voting. Voting booths are set up in the commission's meeting room during the early voting period.

County Administrator Deborah Hammond asked for the public to be patient. She said the commissioners are the pioneers - working out any kinks so that when other offices are moved employees will experience "smooth sailing."

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