The following article is an excerpt from the Exponent Telgram by a staff writer.
by Staff writer Brittany Murray

      CLARKSBURG — After months of upgrades and improvements, library staff predict an early spring reopening for the historic Waldomore.

      The the stately two-story Waldomore mansion, located at the corner of Fourth Street and Hewes Avenue, is part of the Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library complex and houses its West Virginia and Gray Barker UFO Collections.

      “We just finished a massive electrical system upgrade, new paint and carpeting on the second floor of the building,” Waldomore manager Catherine Clevenger said.

      The electrical upgrades were completed by Allegheny Restoration for $499,850, which was funded through grants and the city’s support.

      “It was a grant from the Division of Culture and History and $50,000 from the library that was then matched by the City of Clarksburg,” Clevenger said. “The city has been a great help in up-keeping the structure. They’re one of our biggest supporters.”

      City Manager Martin Howe said the city’s contribution was a mix of general and excess levy funds.

      “The building has historical value, and it was deeded to the city, and it’s our responsibility to upkeep the building,” Howe said. “Since it’s an asset of the city, it’s our obligation to ensure the building is kept in a manner to be utilized by the public.”

      Clevenger said the electrical system was a much needed improvement for the historic structure.

      “For awhile now we’ve been dealing with an outdated electrical system, and we were very much in need of an upgrade,” she said. “We were concerned about fire hazards, and we had a lack of electrical outlets in the buildings. We had two offices working off of two plugs and extension cords running to other areas. We were not really meeting the need.”

      Not only has the project added additional outlets, but it has provided more power and capabilities.

      “In previous renovations, they had just expanded and tapped into an existing electrical system, but this time it’s a whole new system with all new wiring,” Clevenger said. “The downstairs is where we have our public meeting area, and that’s been upgraded so that we can have speakers and microphones and all of that stuff plugged in.”

      Lighting additions were also installed, on both the second floor and new chandeliers in the downstairs of the property.

      “We are looking at a couple projects that we want to accomplish in the long term,” Clevenger said. “We are looking at a new patio for the side of the building because it’s our handicapped accessibility, and we’re also looking at restoring and refurbishing our windows.”

      Though the large, beautiful windows add historic importance to the structure with glass dating back to 1890, Clevenger said rehabilitating them could significantly benefit the building.

      They’re a little leaky and little cold when the wind blows, and they let in a lot of UV light,” she said. “We’re in the very early stages of just brainstorming what we’d like to do and how to do it, then we’ll sit down and looking at grants and funding options.”

      Clevenger is excited to see the Waldomore’s upgrades helping secure that the structure be used for years to come.

      “I want to know what the Waldomore was like when it was the main building, and it seems to me that everyone has a great story of when they were young and came to the library,” she said. “We’re just trying to rehabilitate and keep that building going to create those memories for the next generation.”

      Library staff are still in the process of moving collections back into the Waldomore.

      “A lot of the furniture has already been moved back in, but as for the collection, we’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg,” Clevenger said. “We’ve had some unplanned setbacks.”

      Clevenger said the Waldomore is still closed to the public, but the collections are functioning out of the library’s second floor.

      “I’m not sure when, but we will be closing for a week to move everything in the main building over, and then we will softly open over there,” she said. “My current prediction is somewhere between March and April, pending anything major.”

      Staff writer Brittany Murray can be reached at (304) 626-1439 or by email at bmurray@theet.com. Follow @BMurrayET on Twitter.

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