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Some City of Wheeling Offices Move to Former Ohio Valley Medical Center Campus

File Photo by Eric Ayres

WHEELING — City leaders continue to market available space in buildings on the campus of the former Ohio Valley Medical Center, but some city employees have already settled into new work spaces there — at least on a temporary basis.

So far the Patrol Division of the Wheeling Police Department, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and the office of Wheeling Economic Development Specialist Kurt Zende have all relocated to space at OVMC over the past few months. This week, city officials indicated that more employees from city offices will likely be relocated to space at the former hospital site in the near future.

The city acquired the OVMC property last year, and a number of agencies and entities have either expressed interest in some of the facilities or have entered into agreements with the city for temporary use of certain spaces.

Although city leaders have noted that they hoped to move many of the buildings back into private sector ownership as quickly as possible, the city will continue to own the former Valley Professional Building on Chapline Street, which is set to become the new WPD headquarters.

Last summer, city council approved a $522,540 deal with M&G Architects and Engineers of Wheeling for professional design services for the new police headquarters, as well as initial design services for a new fire station at a location to be determined.

During his most recent report to city council, Herron indicated that design work on the new police headquarters is nearly complete and the project could be ready to be put out to bid in April or May.

The city manager invited any council members interested in doing so to take a “quick tour” of the facility to get a first-hand look at how the space is being utilized.

The Wheeling Police Department has been housed in tight quarters at the City-County Building downtown, where limited space and inadequate accommodations prompted city leaders to come up with a plan to find a new space for the city’s police force. The Wheeling Parks and Recreation Department had been housed on 16th Street in a building where the Ohio County Sheriff’s Department was a neighbor.

Zende, who also manages Centre Market, relocated his office as the city’s economic development specialist to the former OVMC, and he is helping to spearhead the efforts to market the available spaces on the property to interested private sector entities.

Some non-municipal occupants at OVMC since the city has taken ownership include the area veterans assistance organization Helping Heroes, which recently entered into an agreement with the city to use space in the former Hillcrest space on the property.

Space at OVMC is also being used this year for the Winter Freeze Shelter by Youth Services System to house homeless individuals and families during the winter months. The city also recently entered into a memorandum of understanding with Bluefield State College, which hopes to open a new Engineering and Manufacturing Center in the former Education and Administration Building at OVMC.

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