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Harrison Commissioners vote to move

by Paul Darst

STAFF WRITER

Next January, a new circuit court judge will begin hearing cases in what is now the Harrison County Commission courtroom.

Commissioners Tuesday adopted a plan by WYK Associates Inc. to relocate their offices from the first floor of the courthouse to the second floor, where the Voters Registration and other offices are located, Commissioner Thomas Keeley said.

The commission has not decided what second-floor offices will be moved to space on the first floor of the Correctional Center, which now is occupied by the Harrison-Clarksburg Health Department.

The health department is in the process of relocating to the Professional Building on South Third Street to make room for the project.

"The commission will move to the second floor," Keeley said. "There is less space there, but its the most cost effective."

Shuffling the offices is necessary because the state legislature in 1999 created a third division of the circuit court for Harrison County. The new judge will take office in January 2001.

The original plans were for Voters Registration, Parks and Recreation and other offices to relocate to the health department space. A new courtroom and offices for the new judge was to be built on the second floor.

Under the new plan, construction of a third courtroom is not necessary, Keeley said. The new judge will use the courtroom now used by the commission.

And the new plan will save money, Keeley said.

"There will be a substantial amount of savings," he said. Keeley did not have an exact figure.

The original plan would have cost the county an estimated $403,125 for renovations on both floors.

Commissioners also authorized WYK to proceed with a Request for Proposals, to begin the bidding process for the renovations, Keeley said.

The health department officials missed an April 7 deadline to be out of the courthouse because they are waiting for renovations to be complete in the Professional Building.

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