Renovations are underway to restore the historic Wheeling, West Virginia Independence Hall. The Independence Hall building was constructed in the 1800’s and served as the capital building even before West Virginia was formally recognized as a state. As with any older structure, the passage of time has led to the deterioration of the exterior of the building, particularly its leaky roof. The visual effects of the wear and tear, along with the desire to upgrade the interior of the building to make it more functional and user-friendly while maintaining its historic exterior, are the catalysts behind the renovations. The state of West Virginia has pledged $1 million for the project and general contractor Walters Construction Inc. of Wheeling, West Virginia began the project in May, 2010.
Similar projects to modernize buildings while preserving their historic exteriors have been popping up all over the country. In Philadelphia, the city has begun the fourth and final phase of a 17 year renovation project for City Hall. Philadelphia’s City Hall renovation project involved scrubbing the entire perimeter of the exterior of the 1.2 million-square-foot building. In New York City, a $106 million renovation project is underway to restore the 198-year-old City Hall building that is one of the country’s oldest, continuously-used city halls.
Wheeling, Philadelphia and New York are just the latest of many cities to undertake significant renovations of historic government buildings. With private construction projects slowing due to the economy, contractors are wise to look for similar government renovation projects in their local areas.