By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
An effort to address mold problems at the McDowell County Courthouse is one step in an overall project to renovate county offices in the city of Welch, the assistant county administrator said Monday.
The McDowell County Commission recently advertised in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph for contractors interested in addressing moisture issues that are causing mold to grow in the courthouse. An independent specialist examined the courthouse environment and found “three to four” types of mold, said Assistant County Administrator Clif Moore. How hazardous this mold could be depends on each individual’s sensitivity to it, he added.
The county commission is seeking a contractor to remove mold, pigeon excrement, asbestos, and address roof drainage and make other repairs to eliminate moisture that allows mold to grow. A contractor selected for the job must warrant for 20 years that the courthouse will be free of moisture that causes mold. The work would also address problems “relating to any kind of invasion of birds.”
Moore said the county commission tried to find a way to address the problem quickly.
“We tried expediting it through the state by circumventing the bidding process, but the state wouldn’t allow it,” he said.
Work on the courthouse roof has been ongoing for more than three years, Moore said. The approximately $450,000 has been provided for the work by the state Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority. Improvements have included lighting, wiring, and down spouts on the courthouse roof.
The mold abatement is one part of a project to renovate all the county offices in the city of Welch, Moore said.
“Everything,” he stated when describing the project’s scope. “The county commission, the magistrate court, family court, circuit court, all the offices. We’re going to have a modern county office space in about two years.”
The entire renovation project will cost approximately $21 million. Tax credits, historical preservation credits, and syndication credits relating to municipal bonds and county bonds will pay much of it, Moore said. The county would pay the remaining $5 million over a seven-year period.