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Nonprofit launching fundraising campaign to save, overhaul historic post office building

MORGANTOWN — An ongoing and largely behind-the-scenes effort to save and renovate Morgantown’s historic post office building — more commonly known as the Monongalia Arts Center, or MAC, these days — is ready to go public.

The nonprofit HPO (Historic Morgantown Post Office Building, INC) is comprised of board members from MAC and Your Community Foundation.

It owns the building and is tasked with saving the structure, the main portion of which was completed in 1914, and given a historic registry designation in 1979. 

“If we do nothing else but save the building, that in itself is worth the effort,” HPO member Billy Atkins recently told members of The Dominion Post Editorial Board. “But ultimately, we see the vision of this as not just being an art center or museum, but a true community center for activities that we really need at this time.”

HPO scheduled a 10 a.m. press conference Feb. 2 in the building, located at 107 High St., to officially launch its fundraising campaign.

And it looks to be no small undertaking.

Initial feedback from architectural firm Landmarks SGA, which specializes in old and historically significant buildings, says it’ll cost about $10 million to do everything HPO wants to do, including a significant overhaul of the interior to better serve the public and its tenants, which includes MAC, YCF offices, and the Morgantown History Museum.

A loan has already been secured to address critical problems with the roof of the building, which currently has no heat in the portion inhabited by the MAC.

The hope is that along with grant funding and historic rehabilitation and opportunity zone tax credits, the community will rally around the project.

“Our last three years have been a lot of hard work to get us to this point, and we are ready to go forward with fundraising, which is what we need right now,” HPO President Jane Cardi said. “This is a building worth saving.”

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