The Morgan County Courthouse was destroyed by fire in August. This is one of the courtrooms.

This is the exterior of the Morgan County Courthouse.

BERKELEY SPRINGS -– The West Virginia Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority was to present a sizeable grant to the Morgan County Commission to assist with rebuilding the Morgan County Courthouse on Friday.

The historic Courthouse was destroyed by fire on Aug. 8. The Honorable L.D. Egnor, chairman of the West Virginia Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority and Kris Richmond, Executive Director, were to present the check to the commissioners at the steps of the damaged edifice at 83 Fairfax Street in Berkeley Springs. Commission members are President Glen Stotler, Commissioner Thomas Swain, outgoing Commissioner Bob Ford, and newly elected Commissioner Brenda Hutchinson.

"The West Virginia Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority is honored to present this grant to help with rebuilding the Morgan County Courthouse," Egnor said. "This is the most sizable grant the Authority has made since its creation in 2001. West Virginians are well-known for coming together to help one another when there is a tragedy. This year, many counties in West Virginia deferred their own requests for courthouse funds during our fourth funding cycle, and selflessly asked that excess funds be made available to help Morgan County rebuild this historic Courthouse."

The West Virginia Legislature created the West Virginia Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority in 2001 to evaluate the improvement needs of county courthouses throughout the state.

"We are extremely grateful that the West Virginia Legislature had the great foresight in 2001 to provide a means for the upkeep and preservation of local county courthouses when it created the West Virginia Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority," Egnor said. "Without this funding mechanism many of our beautiful, historical courthouses might be lost to neglect and damage."

The West Virginia Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority is funded solely by funds generated at the county level, including portions of fees from Land Redemption Certificates from the County Clerk's office, tax maps from the Assessor's office and concealed weapons permits from the Sheriff's office, for example.

The Authority submitted its report to the Legislature in January 2003, summarizing the conditions and critical use issues of all 55 county courthouses throughout the state. Issues identified included a shortage of workspace and the need for improved building security, expansion and improvement of document storage and ADA compliance.

A rough estimate of the cost of improvements over a 20-year period determined a necessary investment of at least $300 million. This estimate included the cost of construction of annexes and additions as well as the rehabilitation of existing spaces.

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