BUCKHANNON – Thanks to the grant writing of assistant county administrator Tabatha Perry, the county’s old jail facility – located behind the Upshur County Courthouse – will see some new improvements in the coming year.
During its Thursday, Dec. 13 meeting, commissioners were elated to hear that the West Virginia Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority had awarded the county $67,783 – the maximum amount – to improve the building behind the courthouse.
The “old jail,” as it’s commonly referred to, now houses Women’s Aid in Crisis and the new election room on its first floor. The majority of the building, however, is utilized by the county for storage.
With the grant being an 80/20 match, commissioners will pay 20 percent of the full amount, which is $84,729.30.
The funds will be utilized to remove and rebuild two chimneys on the old jail facility, repoint two other chimneys, repoint four gable dormers and paint new surfaces to match the exterior of the building. The upcoming upgrades will be considered phase one of an overall improvement project.
This is not the first time the CFIA has assisted with courthouse renovations; awarded funds helped renovate the Upshur County Circuit Courtroom and repair the courthouse roof in 2015 and 2016.
“At the same time, the commission paid for the repair and replacement of the chimneys on the courthouse out of general county funds,” said Perry.
Due to the specifics of the grant application, county officials had doubts about being awarded the funds.
When the CFIA is ranking grant applications, Perry explained they give preference to the actual courthouse and the courthouse annex.
“Applying for something besides the courthouse or the annex, you’re less likely to receive the grant award,” she said, “so, we were really surprised.”
County administrator Carrie Wallace and commissioners congratulated Perry on a job well done in preparing the grant application.
Shortly after the first of the year, Perry said phase one will be put out to bid with “hopes of being able to commence the project in the spring.”
Commissioners approved and signed the funding assistance contract agreement between the West Virginia Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority and the commission and signed the W.Va. Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority 16th cycle funding recipient check-off list.
The contract term will be from Jan. 1 until Dec. 31, 2019.
The approved project will be completed by the contract end date, or the commission will apply for an extension of the project before the end date in accordance with the guidelines of the funding assistance contract agreement.