CHARLESTON -- A Randolph County site on Corridor H has been chosen for construction of the Tygart Valley Regional Jail, a project several Eastern Panhandle counties had coveted.
After weighing its options for more than a year, the Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority board chose the site during a Monday meeting.
The property, known as the Norton site, is about two miles east of U.S. 250 and about seven miles west of Elkins.
The Tygart Valley Regional Jail is expected to serve Preston, Tucker, Taylor, Barbour, Randolph and Pocahontas counties. It will replace county jails and is expected to create an economic boost wherever it is built.
Twenty sites were initially proposed, and last year the number was trimmed to six.
"The site is closer to Elkins than to the other county seats, but Randolph County produces more inmates. Also, the federal courthouse is in Elkins, and the regional jail will handle inmates for the Department of Justice who have to make appearances at the courthouse," said Regional Jail Authority Director Steve Canterbury.
Canterbury had originally proposed a site in Randolph County near the Barbour County border. But the Norton site and one other prompted Canterbury and board members to take a second look at where the 200- to 400-bed jail should be built.
The jail is one of 10 regional jails the state is building to replace West Virginia's 55 county jails. Seven of the jails are completed.
Although the board members have announced their choice, the decision is not final. Public hearings will begin "in the next few weeks," Canterbury said. After the public comment period is over, the board will decide whether to finalize its choice.