Strauss gets kudos for a job well-Dunn

June 17, 2005|by CANDICE BOSLEY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Asked where a large plaque commemorating the official grand opening of the Dunn Building will hang, Berkeley County Commission President Steve Teufel smiled good-naturedly toward his colleague, Commissioner Howard Strauss.

"In Howard's office," Teufel joked Thursday morning. "Howard's not going to let it out of his sight."

The bronze plaque lists all three commissioners' names, along with the architect's name, and the name of the construction company that renovated the former woolen mill into a county office building.

At the bottom of the plaque is written: "With special thanks to Howard Strauss for his vision and work in making this dream a reality."


For once, Strauss was out of the loop with a matter concerning the building.

"I was totally surprised," said Strauss, who estimated he has spent thousands of hours working on tasks associated with the Dunn Building and two adjacent buildings that one day will house county offices.

The plaque was unveiled before a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the building, which is the site of the Planning Commission, County Commission, Tax Office, Assessor's Department, Ambulance Authority, Fire Board, Building Inspection/Engineering and the county Health Department's environmental department.

It also houses the offices for Region 9 Planning and Development Council.

Previously, those offices were scattered among several buildings.

During the ceremony, Teufel said Strauss was aggressive in bringing the project to fruition, spending countless hours in meetings and also "penny-pinching" to ensure taxpayers received the best deal possible.

Strauss said the project began about four years ago, when county officials started talking about building a comprehensive judicial center. Consolidating other county offices became possible with the "golden opportunity" to buy the three buildings that most recently were home to an outlet shopping mall, he said.

The county bought the buildings and several hundred surrounding parking spaces in May 2002 for $3.8 million.

Construction is under way now to turn another of the buildings, the Berkeley Building, into a judicial center. The final building, the Crawford Building, one day will house the county clerk's offices, which now are in the historic courthouse.

In a few months, the county will offer for sale a building on King Street that housed the Planning Commission.

The Dunn Building is a few blocks away, at the intersection of Raleigh and Stephen streets.

Even with his place cemented in bronze, Strauss says his work is not done. After the meeting, he talked about projects that remain in the Dunn Building, including installing new chairs in the Commission's meeting room, repointing exterior brickwork, replacing exterior wooden windows and working on the heating and air conditioning systems.

As for where the plaque will be permanently placed - it will hang on a common wall in the middle of the building.

The Herald-Mail Articles