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City to Hold Virtual Auction of OVMC Equipment

File Photo by Eric Ayres

WHEELING — Officials in the city of Wheeling are preparing to hold a multi-day auction of equipment and furnishings that remain inside buildings at the former Ohio Valley Medical Center campus.

Last year after serving the community for decades, OVMC officially closed its doors in September. Earlier this summer, Wheeling City Council took action to acquire the former hospital campus, which includes several buildings, one of which is being retrofitted to be the new headquarters for the Wheeling Police Department.

City leaders plan to make needed repairs to other structures on the grounds, separate utilities and market the buildings to the private sector for future use.

Before that happens, however, officials hope to move much of the hospital equipment, furniture and other items that are still housed inside the buildings on the sprawling campus.

These items came with the acquisition, officials have noted, but the city would like to clear the buildings and get them ready to be put up for sale.

“At the Ohio Valley Medical Center complex, we’ll be conducting a virtual auction of various medical equipment that remains at the facilities, and that auction will be occurring from Oct. 1 to Oct. 10,” Wheeling City Manager Robert Herron told members of city council on Tuesday. “We’ve already had medical-related specialty equipment companies come in and offer to acquire various pieces of equipment, beds, chairs, etc., so we feel as though, based on a review of what the city needs to do from a bidding perspective, that a virtual public auction should be one that not only will include these specialty medical companies, but also the public as well.”

Medical companies and the general public will have an opportunity to bid on the equipment that remains at OVMC during the auction dates in October. Officials indicated specific details about the auction will be announced at a later date as plans for the auction continue to come together.

“This will probably occur over a couple of times because there is a substantial amount of material that is of interest remaining in the building, so there may be a couple of lots at different auction events,” Herron said.

Other activity is going on at the OVMC site as well, Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott noted.

“Wheeling Hospital will be relocating its COVID-19 testing center from Wheeling Park to the OVMC campus at the site of the old Harmony House,” Elliott said Tuesday. “That’s something the city manager and staff have been able to work out with officials from Wheeling Hospital. It will start next week.”

The mayor said to get to the new COVID-19 testing site, motorists basically drive up 22nd Street behind the old Valley Professional Center South, make a left at the top of the hill and follow the signs.

“You’ll still be tested from your car, but the actual lab work will be done from inside the building there,” Elliott said. “So it’s basically an opportunity for them to be able to continue doing testing through the winter months going forward. We’re very happy to be able to work with them on that. This is very much a win-win for the community to make this work.”

Elliott said in terms of continued testing for COVID-19, the local numbers do seem to be leveling off, but they are still active cases and a new virus-related fatality was recently recorded in Ohio County, as well. Because of the pandemic and ongoing need for social distancing, meetings of Wheeling City Council — like Tuesday afternoon’s meeting — continue to take place virtually online.

“Obviously we’re still meeting via Zoom,” the mayor said. “We’re going to figure out whether it makes sense at our next meeting or perhaps our first October meeting to go back to meeting in person, but for the time being we’re still meeting via Zoom and doing our best to conduct the business of the city accordingly.”

In other action Tuesday, city leaders took note of the fact that it was the birthday of Wheeling native and noted American labor leader Walther Reuther, who was born in the city on Sept. 1, 1907.

“He became one of the most innovative, influential and charismatic labor leaders of the 20th century,” Councilwoman Rosemary Ketchum said.

In 1963 during the Civil Rights Movement, Reuther was one of the few non-black speakers at the historic March on Washington. He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and crossed the bridge with civil rights leaders in Selma as well, Ketchum noted.

“One of my favorite quotes from Walter Reuther and his personal philosophy is that, ‘There’s no greater calling than to serve your fellow man, there’s no greater contribution than to help the weak, and there’s no greater satisfaction than having done it well,'” Ketchum said. “Reuther was not only a significant labor leader, but an activist for civil rights and social justice, and we are proud to celebrate his legacy today on his birthday.”

Herron echoed those sentiments.

“I worked in Detroit for four and a half years, and I can tell you that Walter Reuther is revered in the Detroit area, and it’s a pleasure to come from there to Wheeling where he was born,” the city manager said. “So happy birthday to Walter Reuther.”


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