Roof grant tops day at Hancock County Courthouse

NEW CUMBERLAND – On the same day that Hancock County commissioners celebrated the grand opening of the courthouse’s new secure entrance, they learned that a state grant will help fund the replacement of the courthouse roof.

The $97,600 grant from the West Virginia Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority will require a 20 percent match from the commission, said the agency’s executive director, Melissa Garretson Smith. It will pay for a new roof, insulation and coping for the 1968 courthouse annex, which adjoins the much older original stone courthouse.

Work on the roof is expected to start sometime in the spring and may be preceded by an architectural assessment, said Robert Vidas, executive director of the county’s Office of Technology and Communications.

This is the second time in three years that the county has received a grant from the WVCFIA for courthouse improvement projects. In 2012, an $80,000 grant helped pay for the conversion of the second-floor jail into office space for the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department.

WVCFIA grants come from fees collected for magistrate court business, marriage licenses, concealed-carry permits and other courthouse business, Smith said.

Also Thursday, commissioners held a grand opening for the courthouse’s new secure entrance. Visitors to the courthouse must now submit to a metal detector screening before they enter the building.

Staffing the walk-through metal detector and X-ray machine are members of the sheriff’s department’s new civilian division – 15 part-time officers who will serve as courtroom bailiffs and courthouse security officers.

Work on the redesigned entrance began in November 2013 and was paid for partly by commissioners and partly by a federal grant.

In other business Thursday, commissioners:

Appointed David P. Willey, of Chester, and James R. Akin, of Weirton, to fill two vacancies on the Hancock County Parks and Recreation Board.

Appointed William S. Visnic, of Weirton, to the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission.

Entered into an agreement with the Governor’s Community Participation Grant Program on behalf of the Newell Community Improvement Coalition for improvements to Laurel Hollow Park. The grant is for $5,000.

Agreed to advertise two open positions on the Abandoned Buildings Ordinance Committee.

Approved the appointment of Melissa A. Perkins as Democrat ballot commissioner and George Village as Republican ballot commissioner through 2015.

Approved an emergency absentee voting policy. Under the policy, absentee voter privileges extend to anyone who is in the hospital, or other licensed health care facility, for medical treatment within a county adjacent to Hancock County or within 35 miles of the county seat, or in a nursing home within the county and is unable to vote in person on Election Day.

Approved the promotion of Chelsea Kavanagh from part-time dispatcher to full-time dispatcher in the 911 Dispatch Center.