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Pruntytown renovation project two-fold

by James Fisher

REGIONAL WRITER

PRUNTYTOWN -- As the resident population at the Pruntytown Correctional Center continues to grow, so must the staff. Unfortunately, until recently the amount of office space in the facility's administration building has remained constant.

But now, the state Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority Board has decided not only to give the center's staff additional office space, but to save a historically significant structure on the grounds.

The old warden's residence, which is probably more than 100 years old, will be renovated to provide the much-needed office space, said Steve Canterbury, executive director of the state Regional Jail Authority, which handles construction projects for the Division of Corrections.

"This building has some very interesting historical gems in there, which is one of the reasons we want to save it," Canterbury said. "This way, we can not only protect a very valuable piece of history, but it also lets us stretch some state dollars."

The board approved nearly $700,000 for the renovation process, Canterbury said. Silling & Associates, a Charleston architecture firm that designed the newest additions at both Pruntytown and the West Virginia Industrial Home for Youth, was tapped to conduct a feasibility study on the renovations and also to design the project. Canterbury said the firm specializes in historic preservation projects.

Jim Liller, administrator of the Pruntytown facility, said that over the years the main administration building has become very crowded with double-occupied offices, a post office, a store, visiting rooms for the residents, educational rooms and other offices.

Moving the administration offices to the three-story, seven-bedroom mansion will not only give the staff more room, but will also free up space in the current building to expand the operations that will be left in place.

Although the exact history of the house is unclear, it was built sometime in the late 1800s, Liller said.

"We don't want to destroy the historical aspect of the house," he said.

Canterbury said Silling & Associates hopes to have the final blueprints ready in a month to 6 weeks. After that is done, the project can be put out to bid and Canterbury hopes to have construction started by next spring.

Regional writer James Fisher can be reached at 626-1446 or by e-mail at jfisher@exponent-telegram.com.

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