Meeting slated on jail plans

February 08, 2007|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson County officials are envisioning that the old Jefferson County Jail someday will have a public meeting room with a kitchen that could be used by other local organizations besides county officials.

It is hoped the jail will blend much-needed county office space with history.

Some people are fascinated with the 89-year-old building's past and want areas set aside in the building to help tell its history.

The jail will have an elevator, and there were discussions at one point of having the elevator resemble a jail cell so people could get an idea what it is like to be locked in a cell, Jefferson County Commissioner Greg Corliss said.

The public will get the chance to learn about the county's plans for the old jail during a meeting today at 7 p.m. in the lower level of the Charles Town Library.


The county commission decided to hold the meeting after members of an organization that worked to save the building said a citizens advisory committee was not consulted on how to use the building.

The county's growing government operations have put office space at a premium and the jail is needed to provide more room.

The jail will include a new family court, offices and storage space, said Matt Grove of Grove & Dall'olio Architects, which has been working on the project.

Besides renovating the jail, the commission is hoping to build a 40,000-square-foot judicial annex adjacent to the jail, and the annex probably will have at least two additional circuit courtrooms, Corliss said.

There are plans to eventually move family court into the annex, which will free up room in the jail for the community meeting room, Corliss said.

About 25 percent of the jail's space is made up of corridors, lobby space and an atrium that could be used for historical interpretation, Grove said.

Advocates of saving the jail said it should be preserved because of its architecture and because of a series of trials that were held in Charles Town in 1922 for miners involved in a labor uprising referred to as the Battle of Blair Mountain in southern West Virginia.

Public meeting

What: The public is invited to hear about plans for the old Jefferson County jail at the corner of George and Liberty streets.

When: Today, 7 p.m.

Where: Lower level of the Charles Town Library, 200 E. Washington St., Charles Town, W.Va.

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