Wood County Commission discussing multi-purpose building

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) – The pandemic-and the federal money that has resulted from it-is at least one motivating factor in plans for a building on the site of the former Wood County Holding Center.

Money from the American Recovery Act-or money the county has saved on its own-could be used for a multi-purpose building that could serve as, among other things, an emergency shelter.

“The workings of that building should be able to handle that, or a mass casualty event or a mass feeding event, where we have to feed a lot of people,” Wood County Commission President Blair Couch said Monday. “Downtown Parkersburg really doesn’t have those facilities.”

The commission also sees it as housing future needs such as COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, that, during the past year, have been done at locations ranging from churches to schools.

“That has opened our eyes, too, to find out what the needs are, for meeting in groups,” Commissioner Jimmy Colombo said. “That will have to be involved with it, some way.”

Nine different architectural firms made proposals for the construction project in the past two weeks. Once construction is complete, attention will be turned toward the future of a building next door.

“That houses our maintenance and records,” Couch said. “It used to be the sheriff’s office and the magistrate court. Not a tear will be shed when it’s knocked down.”

The commission has not made a final decision about hiring a firm to head the project.

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