Purchase Will Lead To Courthouse Annex

MOUNDSVILLE – After seven years of varying plans, the Marshall County Commission on Tuesday announced the acquisition of several pieces of property near the Marshall County Courthouse that will house a much-discussed public safety annex.

The property includes the site that for 75 years has housed Jozabeth’s, formerly the Ferris Shoppe. The seven parcels were purchased for $846,000 from the Magnone family after more than seven months of deliberation. The property, all connected and situated between Seventh and Eighth streets in Moundsville, will become the new home of the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, Office of Emergency Management and 911 call center. The county won’t officially take possession of the property until April 1.

“This was a difficult decision to make,” said Mary Stees, who owns the business with Elizabeth Magnone. The store has been in their family for more than seven decades. “We realized this would be mutually beneficial to both parties.”

Officials echoed that statement, saying the project is a win-win for the county and the Magnone family.

“This is a good public-private deal that will be great for Marshall County for years to come,” said Commissioner Jason “Jake” Padlow.

Padlow and Commissioners Don Mason and Brian Schambach said the building is structurally “solid” and will allow the county to save a significant amount of money in comparison to the most recent annex plan. Announced last year, that plan called for a new addition to be constructed on the back of the existing courthouse off of Sixth Street. Padlow said designs and core samples showed that plan would cost roughly $8 million.

“It is too early to give preliminary numbers,” Padlow said of the new deal. “But we hope to probably save at least $3 million.”

In addition to more space, Schambach said the purchase also includes more than 60 parking spots, which will alleviate the parking issues the courthouse has experienced over the past several years. Additionally, space will be more readily available in the event further expansion is needed in the future.

Officials said the annex is long overdue, as limited space has stunted growth in various departments, namely the sheriff’s office and 911 center.

“This has been needed here for a long time,” Padlow said. “If you go over to the sheriff’s office, you’ll realize the working conditions aren’t very good, and the morale has been down because of that.”

Chief Deputy and Sheriff-elect Kevin Cecil said his office has been limited by space restrictions, and the department has been lacking many things because of it. He said he expects the overall performance of his deputies to change once the project is completed. Likewise, Tom Hart, director of the Marshall County Office of Emergency Management, said the move will allow his department to expand and upgrade technology.

“This will allow us to move into the 21st century with our operations,” he said.

Padlow said in addition to saving money on the project, the purchase of the building ensures a historic structure will be rejuvenated and remain a part of the county for several more decades.

“We are utilizing what we have to save money, and in turn are keeping buildings in the county looking good,” he told the Magnone family. “We will keep your building with a lot of pride.”