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Boiler Shutdown Underscores Tyler Courthouse Needs

By Staff | Oct 28, 2015

The Tyler County Courthouse’s closure last week underscored the commission’s maintenance needs and its aspirations for upgrades and renovations.

“These emergencies always come up in an older facility,” said Eric Vincent, president of the Tyler County Commission.

After a small hole was discovered Sunday, Oct. 18, in the courthouse’s boiler, commissioners decided to play it safe and close the facility until repairs were completed. The courthouse was closed from Monday to Friday. Only the Circuit Court office remained open as required by state law, Vincent said.

This past week, temperatures hovered around freezing, but the temperature within the courthouse ranged between the upper 40s and low 50s until the boiler was fixed. Vincent said a part was made so the boiler could be repaired.

The courthouse re-opened for business Monday.

Vincent said maintenance, repairs and renovations are an ongoing need for the historic courthouse.

Located at the intersection of Main and Dodd streets in Middlebourne, the 19th century courthouse has served as the anchor for generations in Tyler County. The neo-classical and Baroque architectural style structure with its columns and more is an integral part of city’s historic district.

Vincent said the commissioners’ goal is to preserve the courthouse for future generations. Toward that end, he said, the commission is actively applying for a state grant through the County Facility Improvement Authority, a committee of several county officials throughout the state.

A CFIA grant totaling $100,000, aided the renovation and restoration of the Marion County Courthouse about two years ago. For decades, that structure had endured the elements so much so that water damage from leaks damaged the picturesque murals inside the most prominent courtroom.

Vincent said the commission is formulating longterm plans for renovations and upgrades. He said that “wish list” includes new windows and upgrades to the facility’s fire suppression system. Land that is contiguous to the courthouse has been purchased with plans to possibly demolish the structure on that property and replace it with an annex.

“Our wish list goal is to maybe build some sort of annex to courthouse and we can connect that new building to the old building,” Vincent said.

WYK Associates of Clarksburg introduced itself as at recent commission meeting as a possible architect for any renovations the commission may be seeking for the courthouse. Based out of Clarksburg, the company has designed upgrades, renovations and more for historic buildings and courthouses in the north central West Virginia.

Vincent said a lot of the future planning depends on the county’s finances.

“Our ultimate challenge is financial well-being of this county which means being the most efficient and providing the services most needed by our citizens,” he said.