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Cost for old jail renovation lower than first expected

November 18, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson County officials said a Martinsburg architectural firm has estimated it will cost between $800,000 and $1 million to renovate the old Jefferson County Jail, which one county official said was lower than he expected.

Jefferson County Commission member Greg Corliss had estimated it would cost around $1.6 million to renovate the old jail at the corner of George and Liberty streets.

The estimate was given by Grove & Dall'olio Architects, and commission members said Thursday they want to meet with the firm to discuss the project.

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Earlier this year, the commissioners unanimously decided to hire an architect to determine the best way to renovate the jail and to suggest ways it can be used for county government offices.

The action came after years of debate over whether the old jail at the corner of George and Liberty streets should be torn down.

The commissioners have looked at various ways to create more government office space, and they believe the old jail may help meet the need.

But it's unclear when the commission might turn its attention to the jail.

The commission has discussed building a public safety center in Bardane, W.Va., to give the county's 911 center needed additional space, and Commission member Jane Tabb said during a workshop meeting Thursday that she thinks the commission needs to concentrate on that project first.

Tabb said she believes the commission should determine how much the new 911 center will cost and then deal with the jail.

Commission President Rusty Morgan agreed that the 911 center should be the commission's priority.

Commission members said they have about $14 million for building projects.

Corliss said previously that the jail's foundation and its walls are in good shape and said the structure is "quite sound."

Much of the work to transform the jail into office space would involve work like installing a new heating system, new wiring and deciding what to do with the jail cells, Corliss said.

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