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New design for Mon County Commission‚??s office space encourages transparency

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Article by: Ben Conley, The Dominion Post

The inhabitants have changed over the years, but the workspace occupied by the Monongalia County Commission has not — until now.

County Facilities Director Bobby Doyle said the commission is weeks away from unveiling its renovated office, located on the second floor of the Monongalia County Courthouse.

Doyle designed the space and the work was completed in-house by the county’s construction crew over the last three months or so.

“It’s turned out really well,” Doyle said. “They really did a heck of a job. I think the guys I have on that crew are great craftsmen. They can do just about anything. You can see the quality of the work they do. This turned out beautiful.”

According to Doyle, the project has cost about $60,000 so far. He estimates that after all the furniture and new monitors are ordered and any last-minute adjustments are made, the project will come in under $100,000.

Doyle said the commission office hasn’t changed in 45 years.

“So it’s about time,” he said.

County Administrator Rennetta McClure agrees, explaining she’s ready for something new after 11 years in the old office.

“I’m most excited about having an actual lobby instead of a lobby/office/storage,” McClure said. “By repurposing the former commission chambers, we were able to expand the lobby and create a new workspace for our secretary, add an additional spare office for future needs and equalize the commissioners’ private offices.”

As McClure mentioned, the office once wrapped around a tiny meeting chamber, which served the commission for years. In 2017, Doyle and company repurposed the former assessor’s office into a new meeting chamber.

The renovated commission office is the latest in a series of projects at the courthouse following the 2015 opening of the Monongalia County Justice Center.

Doyle said that once this job is finished, the focus will shift to the first floor, where the county planning and floodplain office will move into the former tax office. The space currently occupied by the planning and floodplain office will be additional room for the county clerk.

“Bobby and his staff did a tremendous job on the renovations and we will be so proud to move in after the remainder of the furniture is delivered in a few weeks,” McClure said, echoing recent comments from commissioners.

“It’s a thing of beauty,” Commissioner Sean Sikora said, explaining that the glass doors throughout the new office are an appropriate choice.

“All of our offices have glass doors. There’s nothing that’s done behind closed doors, and even if the door is closed, it’s still completely transparent from the county perspective. … That’s the way we do our business and this is how our office should be,” Sikora said.