For more than two and one-half years, employees of the Ohio County Magistrate Court clerk's office have been working at desks propped up on wooden blocks resting on a bare concrete floor.
Court Clerk Jerry Ames Jr. said his staff has been working amid those conditions since sewage water entered the space during separate floods on Thanksgiving and Christmas 2011.
"They called in professional cleaners to clean up the mess," he said. "They removed the carpet and put the desks and file cabinets up on blocks to allow for drying. They also cut the drywall to about one foot above the floor."
Photo by Fred Connors
Wires are exposed behind a desk in the Ohio County Magistrate clerk’s office, where water has backed up during heavy rains.
He said no replacement carpet has been installed and the walls remain unfinished.
Ames said other problems spots include a steel emergency exit door and its jamb that have rusted to the point of making it very hard to open and exposed wiring on a portion of the floor prone to surface water flooding.
He said the West Virginia Supreme Court rents the main floor magistrate offices and basement clerk's space in the C. Lee Spillers Courthouse Annex Building from the Ohio County Commission.
Ohio County Administrator Greg Stewart said a broken sewer line under the concrete floor of the Day Report Center created the flood.
Floor drains have since been sealed to prevent more flooding.
"The pipe is separated and we may have to cut through the concrete and dig as much as four feet deep to access it," he said. "We are hoping to get a small excavator that will fit through doorways into the area."
Stewart said the county is considering moving the magistrate clerk's offices into the former site of the Ohio County Head Start Program on the fourth floor of the court house annex, formerly occupied by Wheeling Electric and American Electric Power.
He said the Supreme Court rents the current space for up to $60,000 per month, depending on revenue generated by the courts.
"Based upon income, they are now paying $40,000-$50,000," Stewart said."