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Wood County Commission discusses prospective Resiliency Center

A conceptual rendering of the proposed Wood County Resiliency Center was presented Monday to the Wood County Commission by ZMM Architects Engineers. The 28,255-square-foot building, which would be built on the site of the old county jail, would include a large meeting room which could seat around 400 people, have bathroom/shower facilities, drive-through maintenance bays and more. (Image Provided)

PARKERSBURG — The proposed Wood County Resiliency Center would have a number of uses, many of which have come to light during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Architect Adam Krason, with ZMM Architects & Engineers of Charleston, made a presentation to the Wood County Commission on Monday regarding design work and the layout for the building which is estimated to cost around $9 million.

The 28,255-square-foot building would be built on the site of the old county jail.

Commission President Blair Couch said they were looking at a place which could hold large scale vaccine/flu shot programs put on by the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, mass causality events, large-scale food distribution events, 911 regional trainings, socially distanced court proceedings and more.

“The (MOV Health Department) does not have this kind of facility at their beck and call,” Couch said of efforts where the health department has had to find available space to do different events at local churches and at the former Suddenlink building.

Krason outlined the proposed layout of the building which includes a large meeting room which could seat around 400 people, has bathroom/shower facilities, drive through maintenance bays that could also be utilized for food distribution, a kitchen facility with refrigeration and freezers available and more.

“The goal was to create a facility that could serve a variety of functions,” Krason said. “The site really fits just about perfectly for this building.”

A space was recently added to the plans that could be used as a jury room if court proceedings needed to happen there along with the necessary technology to be utilized, Krason said, adding holding cells were also added.

“We tried to make it as flexible to accommodate any disaster/emergency event that we could anticipate and things we didn’t anticipate a few years ago,” he said.

Over the last year it was hard to conduct jury trials in the current courtrooms with socially distancing requirements, Couch said.

“That really backed up the court system,” he said.

When not in use for those type of events, the building would be utilized by the county maintenance department in the garage bays and more. A firewall would be included in the design.

Krason said they would meet with all the necessary people who would be using to space to see what they would need. He also said at least one other county is looking at a similar facility to deal with unmet needs that have come up during the pandemic.

“There area lot of people realizing this,” he said.

MOV Health Department Executive Director Eric Walker credited the drive through capabilities to do vaccine clinics and the possibility of doing an emergency operations center and more.

“I think it is a great idea,” he said. “The sky’s the limit.”

The commission gave its approval for ZMM to move to the next phase and begin the design work.

Couch said this facility will make a “generational change” for the area.

“People will look back in 50 years and say ‘That was a smart move,'” he said.

Brett Dunlap can be reached at bdunlap@newsandsentinel.com

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