The Times West Virginian

January 23, 2014

Courthouse dome set for restoration

By Emily Gallagher
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — When residents visit the Marion County Courthouse, they might notice the historical look of the building.

Thanks to a grant, that historical look won’t change.

Belinda Biafore, economic and community development grant coordinator for the county, said the county received a $100,000 grant through the Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority (CFIA). The CFIA is a committee of several county officials throughout the state.

“The reason they were established was to maintain courthouses and keep some of the older courthouses up-to-date without taking away the cosmetic effect of the courthouses,” Biafore said. “They’re such beautiful buildings.”

The grant will be used to repair the dome, skylights and murals of the courthouse.

Biafore said one of the biggest problems is leaks.

“There is some leaking going on in the dome,” she said.

Biafore said it’s important to fix these leaks because when visitors look up in the third floor courtroom, water damage is noticeable on some of the murals.

“It’s just too beautiful of a courtroom to see it ruined by water damage,” she said.

As part of the grant, the Marion County Commission

has to match $20,000 of the $100,000 rewarded.

Biafore said to apply for the grant, the county had to file everything from documents of information to pictures of what is needed to be upgraded. She said the county also received this type of grant several years ago.

“When you send everything in, they’ll review it and award up to $100,000,” Biafore said. “So we got the full amount.”

Before construction can begin on the repairs, Biafore said a bid to work on them will be out within the next week. She said the project could end up costing more than the grant funding awarded.

But for now, Biafore said they will be able to stop the leaks before they get worse.

“We’ll be able to also repair some of the skylights that are in the dome,” she said. “And once that’s all done, we can finish the rest of the work.”

Biafore said three years ago was the last time repairs had been done on the dome of the courthouse.

Weather could play a factor when construction begins. Biafore said workers will have to be outside to fix some of the leaks in the dome.

Biafore said they want to do all they can to preserve the historical beauty of the Marion County Courthouse.

“It’s got a lot of history to it,” she said. “The last thing that I want to see happen is for them to go in there and modernize it.”

Email Emily Gallagher at egallagher@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @EGallagherTWV.