Lewis County leaders broke ground Wednesday for a state-of-the-art, $8 million courthouse annex that will lead to the consolidation of judicial services, governmental services, tax dollar savings and overall increased security for county employees and residents.
A project that has been in the works for some 30 years, the courthouse was designed by a West Virginia company and is being built by a West Virginia company. That means West Virginia workers will bring the Lewis County Judicial Annex to life and bring life into the local economy during the construction phase.
The new annex also will bring a centralized location for Lewis County's judicial services, as the circuit, family and magistrate courts will have a new home. All of the associated offices with those courts, including probation and the prosecutor, will be housed in the new building. The sheriff's department, which provides security to the court officers and to the courtroom, will be located in the new building.
But this new annex will do so much more for Lewis County taxpayers. By allowing the courts to move into a new building, it will give other county departments the opportunity to move into those soon-to-be-unoccupied offices. This means offices such as the Economic Development Authority and the Lewis County Commission, among others, could be returning to the courthouse campus, making the county government a one-stop shop and save tax payer money in the long run because of not needing large commercial rental spaces.
Past and present county commissioners and administrators should be applauded for having the vision and finally formulating a strategy to bring this much- needed building project to fruition.