PRINCETON — Old continues to make way for the new as work continues on renovations that are making the Mercer County Courthouse a more accessible public place.
In June, the Mercer County Commission accepted a $227,100 bid from Main Street Building LLC in Princeton to build an accessibility ramp for the courthouse’s north end entrance. Work started soon afterward, and the people visiting the courthouse have been routed in August to courthouse’s South Walker Street entrance during construction.
When the courthouse was built in 1930, none of its entrances were designed with handicap accessibility. Drainage issues outside the courthouse had to be addressed and the commission had to confer with the West Virginia Office of Historic Preservation before work could get underway.
Changes at the north end entrance include a disabled access ramp, new front steps, additional handrails and new sidewalks along the courthouse’s north side. A statue near the entrance depicting Mercer County pioneers Mitchell and Phoebe Clay was moved recently to a new location in Lake Bottom near Lake Shawnee so there would be room for the renovations.
The ongoing renovations are based on the designs being used at the Robert C. Byrd Federal Building in Charleston, County Commissioner Bill Archer said before the work got underway.
County Administrator Vicky Reed said that the commission had received a progress report Tuesday. The old courthouse steps have been removed in preparation of pouring new steps, foundation drain installation at north end of Circuit Clerks office is complete, and ramp footings and wall construction have been completed. Existing sidewalks will be removed during the next 30 days of work, floor slabs for the accessibility ramp, new courthouse steps and new sidewalks will be poured, and a new flagpole will be erected.
The scheduled completion date is Oct. 30, but this could change if the contractor encounters any problems, Reed said.
— Contact Greg Jordan at email@example.com