CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A member of the Capitol Building Commission anticipates the public will understand the need to secure the governor’s mansion and state Capitol complex.
“There is a real feeling of openness in West Virginia and we pride ourselves in that,” said State Supreme Court administrator Steve Canterbury. “I think there’s also now an understanding that people are doing some pretty reckless and harmful things.”
Canterbury voted Wednesday with other members of the building commission in favor of the plan. “This is well thought-through,” he said.
The plan begins with construction of a limestone sitting wall around the complex. When the security fence is added atop the wall, Canterbury said the Kanawha Boulevard sidewalk would be moved toward the street—eliminating up to 10 legislative parking spaces.
There have been a few recent incidents near the mansion, which currently has no perimeter barriers. The rest of the campus will be surrounded by the sitting wall, tall enough to prevent a vehicle from going over top of it.
“I think the people are wise to security these days and they won’t see this as detrimental but instead an enhancement to the campus,” Canterbury said.
The Capitol Building Commission has been looking at the security issue for a few years. Dozens of unattractive bollards were installed in by a Manchin administration official several years ago, those were eventually removed. The master plan is a six-phase plan.
“This won’t be an imposing grotesque barrier—it certainly won’t be bollards. But it will be a sufficient height to keep some sort of vehicle from smashing into the side of the capitol,” Canterbury said.
The old stone wall around the Holly Grove property at the corner of Kanawha Blvd. and Greenbrier Street will stay in place. The plans also include a possible turnaround along Greenbrier Street for school buses.