Porch restoration project could be underway soon

PARKERSBURG – A proposed contract for restoration of the Wood County Courthouse porches has been turned over to the prosecutor for review.

“The proposed contract says the work will be completed by Sept. 30, unless otherwise arranged,” said county administrator Marty Seufer.

Contacted earlier by The News and Sentinel, officials with David’s Stone Limited Liability Corp., Marietta, Ohio, said they hoped to have the project completed by early July. County officials said the proposed contract was only submitted recently and has been turned over to the prosecutor for review before the county commission takes action on it. Prosecutorial review for proposed contracts is standard procedure.

The county received a $28,400 West Virginia Courthouse Facilities Improvement grant for the porch project. There is a 20 percent local match required for the grant.

“The work just has to be completed by Dec. 31, 2013, for the grant, so we have plenty of time,” Seufer said.

A drainage project at the courthouse, which resulted in the temporary closing of some courthouse entrances and part of Market Street, has now been completed. County officials said there had been some concern about the possibility of having the porch restoration project ongoing at the same time as the recent drainage project.

The bid for the work was awarded earlier to David’s Stone LLC, based in Marietta, Ohio, for $33,711.47. Stone was the firm that also did the restoration work on the new steps at the courthouse. Keystone Waterproof Inc. of Greensburg, Pa., was the only other bidder for the porches, with a quote of $35,400.

“We are delighted to be working in our own backyard again. All the workers that will be used on the job are West Virginia masons. Our children and grandchildren will see the work we do for years to come, and we want to make sure it’s done right,” David Paige, owner and general manager of the firm told the newspaper earlier.

The handcarved limestone will be used on the new third floor porches, the same Indiana limestone that was used in the Empire State Building and on the courthouse steps, according to Paige.

Paige told the newspaper earlier he plans to use a manlift and not have scaffolding to try and reduce disruption to traffic around the building.

The porches, on the fountain side of the historic courthouse, are outside the third floor offices of the building. The original porches had apparently become deteriorated and were removed during 1983-1984 renovation efforts. Restoration plans call for a stone rail on the top and bottom and balusters in-between.

Paige said he utilizes a fifth generation stonecutter for the stone carving work.

The courthouse was completed in 1899 and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The courthouse took nearly two years to complete at a cost of $100,000.

Paige’s firm was the successful bidder for the earlier renovation of the courthouse steps. The county was awarded a $62,400 West Virginia Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority for that project.

In 2001, the West Virginia Legislature created the courthouse authority to evaluate the needs of the state’s courthouses and estimate potential costs for renovations and repairs. The authority oversees a special revenue account made up of a portion of the fees collected for county services, such as marriage licenses and copying fees for tax maps. Counties can annually apply for the grants. The funding can be used for anything related to courthouses or any other county-owned buildings used for county operations. The maximum grant award is $80,000, and there is a 20 percent required funding local match on each grant.