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JCCVB renovation on track for 900-square foot addition

By Staff | Feb 21, 2019

The Jefferson County Convention and Visitors Bureau’s building at Harpers Ferry, which is currently under renovation. Toni Milbourne

HARPERS FERRY — The Jefferson County Convention & Visitors Bureau broke ground last fall on a 900-square foot addition to its current A-frame building, located at 37 Washington Court in Harpers Ferry. The renovation will nearly double the size of the current building.

The visitors center sits at the gateway to Jefferson County and West Virginia.

“What an improvement this is for the image of West Virginia,” said Peggy Smith, who serves on the board of the JCCVB.

“Before, we were in a trailer,” she recalled, remembering the time prior to the Visitors Center moving into the A-frame building.

The expansion comes as a result of a $250,000 allocation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Economic Development Initiative Grant Fund. JCCVB Director Annette Gavin said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito was instrumental in helping to secure the funding.

In addition to the $250,000 Capito earmarked, $100,000 was dedicated through the Washington Heritage Trail Grant program and the needed remaining funds will come from the JCCVB.

Capito was on hand at the ground-breaking ceremony in October, as was Sen. Joe Manchin, who, according to Gavin, has been a key player in the success of the renovation project and tourism in the state in general.

The specifics of the renovation include extending the building on three sides, providing more interior exhibit space, a new exterior envelop, new windows and a metal roof. There will also be additional bathrooms and some renovated office space, according to plans provided by the Mills Group, the project architect.

According to Gavin, the project is being designed in three phases with the first phase, the addition structure, estimated to cost $404,000, the second phase, primarily site plan and interior work, will cost around $200,000 and the third and final phase will concentrate on exterior improvements and a court yard.

“Handicap bathrooms will be a great improvement in our services to visitors,” Smith said. “Things like knowing one’s fundamental needs can be met are so important to those traveling.”

“In addition to those restrooms, we are adding additional exhibit space. The interior layout will also provide a more personal interactive space with the public. As you can see, the renovations will serve multiple purposes,” Gavin said. “But the ultimate goal is to provide a beautiful welcome center to maximize the visitor experience and create a positive perception of our county and our state.”

W. Harley Miller Contractors, Inc., a local contractor in Martinsburg, is serving as the construction company building the addition.

“Future plans will involve integration of enhanced technology to excite and engage visitors, with regard to the local attractions and amenities,” Gavin said.

The JCCVB has and will remain open during the entire construction period.

Organized as a nonprofit to promote tourism in the county, the JCCVB attracts conventions, conferences and visitors to Jefferson County and the three towns of Harpers Ferry, Charles Town and Shepherdstown. To learn more, visit discoveritallwv.com or call 866-435-5698.