MORGANTOWN — Since the 2015 opening of the Monongalia County Justice Center nearly every portion of the Monongalia County Courthouse has been renovated, as county offices were expanded and rearranged to fill the space vacated by the county’s circuit court.
Every portion, that is, except the first one everyone sees — the building’s lobby and security station.
On Wednesday, the Monongalia County Commission approved a $12,300 proposal from Mills Group to design, bid and administer a project addressing the congested security area just inside the 131-year-old building’s public entrance.
“Right now, frankly, we’re not very proud of what it looks like. It looks like it was thrown together; like 9/11 happened and we needed to have scanning and everything but it was never adequately engineered to allow for good flow through there,” Commissioner Sean Sikora said. “So that’s what Michael Mills is helping us with.”
The room sitting immediately behind the security station is currently empty, but will be home to the expanded county clerk’s office.
Sikora said initial discussions have favored bumping a portion of that wall back to get security out of the flow of traffic in the main first-floor hallway.
“We’re going to be changing the tiles, lighting, structure and where we’re going to put all the security monitors and TVs,” he said. “We just want to make it look a lot more modern and efficient.”
Also on Wednesday, the commission noted the finalized agreement between itself and Enrout Properties for the construction of a new 911 center in the Morgantown Industrial Park.
As previously reported, Enrout will build the 911 center and lease it back to the county at a rate that will cover the cost of the building, plus an additional percentage factored in to cover property taxes in order to make the TIF district whole. At the end of the 30-year life of the district, the building’s deed will be transferred over to the county.
Working cost estimates put the new 9,600-square-foot facility at about $9 million, including contingencies.
The finished product will replace the county’s existing 5,000-square-foot MECCA facility, built in 1997 on Mon General Drive.
Glenn Adrian of Enrout Properties previously said the goal is to be able to hand the building over to MECCA 911 in the fourth quarter of 2023.