CHARLESTON, West Virginia — Work is expected to begin soon on security improvements at the West Virginia Capitol Complex, including installation of an ornamental fence surrounding the Governor's Mansion.
The state has awarded a contract worth about $3 million to Wiseman Construction of Charleston for the project.
State officials and Wiseman representatives will hold a pre-construction conference later this week. Wiseman will have 120 days to complete the project once the notice to proceed is signed, Department of Administration spokeswoman Diane Holley-Brown told The Charleston Gazette-Mail (http://bit.ly/1N7xCDb ).
A parking lane in front of the mansion will be converted into a sidewalk and green space to addresses concerns about the mansion's proximity to Kanawha Boulevard. The change will eliminate 24 parking spaces used by House of Delegates members during legislative sessions.
The Capitol Building Commission approved the security plan, which was developed by GAI Consultants, in 2014. The plan calls for a limestone wall topped with wrought iron fencing. GAI Consultant architect Dave Gilmore told the commission at the time that the design was based on a 1921 rendering by Walter Martens, the architect who designed the Governor's Mansion.
Martens proposed a brick wall, featuring brick pillars, topped with wrought iron fencing but it was never constructed.
The project also includes converting two parking lots into a bus turnaround to create a safer site for passengers to get off buses. Fifty-two metered visitor parking spaces will be eliminated. But 13 spaces for people with disabilities will be provided close to the Culture Center.
"We're excited about that. That's going to eliminate a safety issue that's long been a concern," Division of Culture and History spokeswoman Caryn Gresham told the newspaper. "We'll be glad once we have them getting off the buses right next to the building."
Gresham said other visitor parking spaces are located nearby on the campus.
Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, http://wvgazettemail.com.