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March 1, 2014 by wcobserver

By WCObserver Staff –


Progress toward making the Friends of the Library Hall ready for full use by the public was slowed last week when West Fork Fire Chief Mitch McCorkle expressed concerns about the building’s compliance with fire codes.  On February 12, 2014 Interim Mayor Rossetti, Chief McCorkle and some county officials conducted a survey of the Hall.  A week later notification was sent to Friends of the Library:

Letter dated February 20, 2014. “To Friends of West Fork Library,

“The Christian Church Building that you are planning to use was inspected last week. I decided that the violations that I observed were so extreme that I called the County Fire Marshals for assistance.

“We agree that the best solution would be to contact an architect to design and supervise the corrections and modifications that are needed to meet the Building code Requirements. This building should not be used until it can be brought up to code.

Thank You signed Mitch McCorkle, Fire Chief.”

The city received this undated letter on Feb. 19, 2014: “To whom it may concern. It is the recommendation of the Washington County Fire Marshal’s office that the church at 210 Garfield Avenue in the city limits of West Fork have an architect review the plans and assist with the remodel and construction of the structure due to the significance of the building and the changing of occupancy. Tyler McCartney Asst. Fire Marshal, Washington county Sheriff Office”

The State inspection occurred Friday February 28, 2014. A report of that state inspection was sent to members of the Friends of the Library by email from Jane Bryant, the Building Manager, to the membership on March 1, 2014:

“Representatives from the State Fire Marshal’s office, Barry Burke and Andy Branton; the Washington County Fire Marshall, Dennis Ledbetter; local officials, Charlie Rossetti, mayor; Mitch McConnell, WF Fire Marshal; David McKee, local architect; Francis Harderson and Paul Libor, and other interested community members met this afternoon from 12 noon – 2:00 PM at the Library Hall for a survey of the Hall.


“The consensus of the State Fire Marshal’s office is that our building is in good condition and that the violations they found are fixable.  With the help of our architect, David McKee, we will be drawing up plans (including a budget and a schedule of work) that will be submitted to the City of West Fork that will enable us to become compliant with local and state fire codes.  A brief summary of immediate tasks include the following:  #1 Lighted exit/emergency signs on both doors;  

“#2 Change both exit doors to swing outward;  #3 Remove paneling in kitchen and upstairs walkway and replace with sheetrock.  #4 Become ADA accessible by installing ramps on both entrances and the stage area and begin the remodeling of the bathroom:  #5 Decide whether we will be a full fledged kitchen needing a hood, etc. or install warming ovens for serving cooked food. 


“We will begin work on #1 and #2 ASAP to be ready for our March 14 Follies.  We have been given permission to sponsor activities in the building while limiting our occupancy to ~50 people at any one time.  This means we can have our Benefit Sale, our Follies, and small groups can use the kitchen area.  

“Eventually we will remove all the paneling in the auditorium and replace with sheet rock.  We don’t have to install sprinklers and we don’t have to build another exit door on the end of the building.  Within a two year period we should have all our violations addressed and be able to ask for another review.  Until then we can use the building to raise money and serve the library and our community.

“As soon as we have our plans submitted to the city we can receive a building permit and begin our serious work.  It’s going to be a beautiful building and a wonderful asset to our community. 

“Overall, the meeting was positive and productive.  Thanks to all of you for your interest and support.     Jane Bryant”



1 comment »

  1. Jane Bryant says:

    My apologies to Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Mitch McCorkle of Arkansas. I inadvertently transposed their last names.

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