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Update: Wood County Courthouse bell tower renovation under way

(WTAP)
Published: Nov. 21, 2019 at 5:26 PM EST
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UPDATE: 6/1/2020

Phase one of the bell tower reconstruction at the old Wood County Courthouse has been completed.

The next step is to put a renovated roof on top of the bell tower, similar to the design from 1899 when the tower was first built.

Wood County Administrator Marty Seufer says that they hope the roof will be arriving by the end of June or in early July, and that once it does arrive, it will only take a day or so to lift it to the top.

Officials are excited because once the tower is complete, it will measure to be the tallest courthouse in the state of West Virginia.

"It'll barely be," Seufer said about the courthouse being the tallest in the state. "It was nice because we're restoring the building back to the way it was when it was originally built. We had a roof problem up in the bell tower that we were going to have to replace some things anyway, so it just worked out that we were able to get a grant, and we are able to put the roof on."

Update: 5/15/2020

Workers have begun renovating the 120-year old bell tower at the Wood County Courthouse.

County Administrator Marty Seufer says preliminary construction work began Thursday, and assembly work is to start Monday.

The early work included removal of a stairway to the tower and steel reinforcement to the structure's windows.

The county says the project costs just under $400,000 with grants paying for half of it.


Update: 11/25/2019

Murray Sheet Metal of Parkersburg gets the contract for the restoration of the Wood County Courthouse's bell tower.

It was one of five companies submitting bids that were opened last week.

County officials say the historic, 120-year old courthouse tower has shown deterioration, as it has aged.

"The roof has been leaking and water has been getting into the brick in the tower itself," says County Administrator Marty Seufer. "So we've been seeing some degradation of brick in the tower, and this will put a roof on it and channel the water away from the tower."

The start date for the project has not yet been determined, but it's estimated, once it is started, it will take five months to complete.

Grants will pay for half of the project cost.


11/21/2019

A historic part of the Wood County Courthouse is about to get a major renovation.

Five bids were opened Thursday morning-and are being reviewed-for the renovation of the courthouse's bell tower.

The bell itself can be rung, but the tower that houses it-which was built in the early 1900's-is deteriorating.

It will be rebuilt, but with 21st century materials.

"The challenge now is that you have a tower that was built in the 1900's," says Chris Campbell, architect with Charleston-based ZMM. "You can't go back with some of the original materials because of how the construction methods have changed, and some of the materials, how they've changed."

In recent years, the bell has been rung in honor of the victims of the September 11th, 2001 terror attacks, and the victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook shootings.

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