MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Officials in Martinsburg are looking into how to keep the federal building in Martinsburg safe.
The landmark was condemned Monday after bricks fell from a third story window over the weekend.
City Engineer Mike Covell told MetroNews affiliate WEPM he met with the building’s owner and an engineer Tuesday.
“We had a very good onsite meeting today,” he said. “Looking at some of their preliminary findings to be made available to us over the next handful of days, and we’ll use that as a basis of what can we expect realistically for a timeline to do different levels of responses to the damage and then what to do long-term for the well being of the whole building.”
Covell said the condemnation is a precaution to keep the public safe and start a dialogue with the building’s owner, The Arts Centre Inc., which has held title to the former U.S. Post Office and courthouse since 2001.
“Definitely not a condemnation that the entire building is found to be unsafe,” he said. “It is the condition that presents itself and poses the threat to the public that requires the condemnation to be used.”
City manager Mark Baldwin said during WEPM’s Panhandle Live Wednesday the city has an interest in seeing the building maintained, but they are limited in what they can do.
Right now the priority is public safety.
Baldwin says he believes the Arts Council doing everything they can to make sure the structure is safe.
“The bottom line at the end of the day is what’s it going to cost to secure that building in a safe manner that we can remove the barricades and take away that condemned placard, so to speak.”
He said it will be up to them to identify the funding to help repair or improve the building.