FAIRMONT — Bids were opened recently for an HVAC upgrade project at the Marion County Courthouse and county historical museum.

During its last meeting, the Marion County Commission opened the two bids that were submitted.

The bids were from Ruthrauff Service of Carnegie, Pa. for $97,075 and Hranec of Uniontown, Pa. for $184,000.

County administrator Kris Cinalli said the low bid from Ruthrauff Service was chosen, pending a review.

He said the start date of the project has not yet been confirmed.

According to Cinalli, the HVAC upgrade involves installation of 15 fan coil units in the courthouse, one Mitsubishi mini split system in the second floor courtroom, and Mitsubishi mini split system in the historical museum.

It’s to be paid for with $100,000 in grant funding from the W.Va. Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority. The county received the funding.

Counties are eligible for grants of up to $100,000 from the authority, and the counties must match at least 20 percent of the grant amount.

The commission previously said in its statement of need to the authority that the old units, used for the judges’ office and courtrooms, not only waste energy, but make temperatures uncomfortable.

“The benefit to the judges, jurors, visitors and employees is greatly needed,” states the application.

Previously, County Commissioner Randy Elliott described the work as “a good project.” Earlier, the county replaced a chiller on the ground level, an integral part of the building’s air conditioning system.

It was also paid for with a grant from the authority.

The West Virginia Legislature created the Court Facilities Improvement Fund in April 2001 to administer funds and provide county governments with funding assistance to modify existing courthouse facilities or construct new courthouse facilities.

No tax money is used for these grants. Instead, the money comes from fees for concealed weapons permits, marriage licenses, processing criminal bonds, felony cases, filing deeds and other circuit court fees.

Eric Hrin can be reached at 304-367-2549, or ehrin@timeswv.com.

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