CHARLESTON - The Kanawha County court system is getting at least one new courtroom, and it possibly could get two.

Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said a new courtroom will be added to the judicial annex for use by either a visiting judge, ceremonial use or an additional circuit court judge.

And the historic No. 4 courtroom in the main Kanawha County Courthouse also is going to receive a facelift to help make it more functional.

The commission currently is discussing ways to make the No. 4 courtroom, used mainly for ceremonial purposes, a fully functional courtroom, Carper said. The courtroom is listed on the historical register.

"It's a beautiful, splendid courtroom worth protecting," Carper said. "We just have to balance between being functional and protecting the aesthetics of the original design. We can do that."

The commission was granted $80,000 in a courthouse improvement fund, and Carper said there is at least $20,000 in additional funds set aside.

The No. 4 courtroom, which is located on the second floor of the courthouse, was last updated in the late 1980s when a drop ceiling was taken out, the walls were painted and gold leaf was added, Carper said.

"Since then, we've spent significant money trying to make it more usable, but frankly it's hard to hear in there," Carper said.

To help make the courtroom acoustics better, $13,000 curtains have been ordered, which help to deaden and control sound. Also, Carper said carpet might be put down instead of tile.

The additional courtroom -- either in the annex or in the courthouse -- could be needed if Gov. Joe Manchin signs a bill that allows for additional circuit court judges, meaning Kanawha County could have an eight circuit court judge.

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