PARKERSBURG - Representatives of the West Virginia Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority and state historic preservation office will be in Parkersburg on Dec. 13 to look over the Wood County Courthouse.
"It's part of a statewide tour, they are visiting all the courthouses in the state," county Administrator Marty Seufer said on Thursday. "They will be looking at the heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, telecommunications and other systems. They will have engineers with them and are going to look at the conditions in all the areas, so they may find something we didn't pick up on."
The visit is scheduled for 8 a.m. on Dec. 13. Since that date is a regularly scheduled county commission meeting, the county officials asked the visitors be invited to attend their meeting to give a report.
In 2001, the West Virginia Legislature created the courthouse authority to evaluate the needs of the state's courthouses and estimate potential costs for renovations and repairs.
The authority oversees a special revenue account made up of a portion of the fees collected for county services, such as marriage licenses and copying fees for tax maps.
Counties can annually apply for the grants. The funding can be used for anything related to courthouses or any other county-owned buildings used for county operations.
The maximum grant award is $80,000 and a 20 percent local match is required on each grant.
The county has received several courthouse facilities grants for various projects over the years, including a grant to replace the stone steps at the fountain and Market Street entrances to the courthouse.
Wood County has most recently been awarded a $28,400 facilities improvement grant to restore the original porches railings which once graced the front of the courthouse. The original porch railings were apparently removed during the 1980s when the restoration was done on the courthouse.
The grant funding will not be available until around the first of January. Specifications for bids will be prepared shortly after that.
Bob Enoch, president of the Wood County Historical and Preservation Society, was pleased with the news of the grant award.
"I give accolades for the efforts to take care of our courthouse, the grand old lady. It's great the building is being restored back to its former self," Enoch said.
The courthouse, which was constructed in 1899, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.