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Morgan County Courthouse office space draws nearer to finalization

April 12, 2008|By TRISH RUDDER

 BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- The new courthouse offices were fine-tuned in meetings Thursday with project architects in the Morgan County Commission trailer.

Tom Potts and Jeremy Jones of Silling Associates, the architectural firm hired by the Morgan County Commission to design the new courthouse, met with individual department personnel to look at office plans.

The courthouse was destroyed by fire in August 2006, and the county offices have been operating in trailers in the old parking lot.

Personnel from the county assessor's office, Vonda Miller, Debbie Weaver and Assessor John Allen Swaim, worked with Potts to get the right combination of workable space in their office.

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Weaver said her concern was that all the staff had to be able to see the public as soon as someone came into the office seeking assistance.

With some adjustments, each of the four work stations will have 5-foot-high partitions with 1 foot of glass so each can see the counter, and the records room was moved closer to the work stations, another issue that needed to be addressed.

"We will look for a better way to make it convenient for the office," Potts said.

Potts said he would meet with all the departments and go over the design and space plans for the staff's approval.

Bill Clark, county administrator, said "it is our hope" to begin the bidding process on the courthouse construction in early summer.

Funding for the estimated $13.5 million new courthouse has not been finalized.

Morgan County Commission President Glen R. Stotler said recently the state has verbally committed to a $9 million, 1 percent interim loan with a balloon payout at the end of five years.

The county recently was awarded a $7 million USDA low-interest loan that will go into effect in five years.

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