NONPROFIT, HISTORIC MORGANTOWN POST OFFICE BUILDING, INC (HPO)
TO LAUNCH RENOVATION CAMPAIGN OF
THE HISTORIC MORGANTOWN POST OFFICE BUILDING.
A local 501(c)3 nonprofit has been formed to renovate The Historic Morgantown Post Office building located at 107 High Street. The Historic Morgantown Post Office Building, Inc., or HPO, is led by an engaged group of board members excited about presenting the restoration project to the public. The building is home to three nonprofit organizations, the Monongalia Arts Center (MAC), Your Community Foundation of North Central West Virginia (YCF), and the Morgantown History Museum.
“A coordinated effort between the building’s current tenants was initiated in 2019 to assess the structural status of the building and to prepare a strategy to rehabilitate the original building and the annex. This new effort also included the formation of a new non-profit entity, The Historic Morgantown Post Office Building, Inc. (HPO), comprised of the owners of the building, MAC and YCF, to oversee the renovation project. In the fall of 2021, ownership of the building was transferred from the MAC (main building) and YCF (annex) to the HPO to facilitate the project’s operations.” explained Jane Cardi, HPO President.
“The building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, needs timely infrastructure repairs and improvements including a new roof, asbestos removal, upgraded restrooms, an elevator and other accessibility upgrades, updated HVAC, plumbing, new windows, façade masonry repairs, and other historical rehabilitation work,” said local architect Ron Dulaney, Phase One Project Manager. “MAC, YCF, and the Museum are directly affected by this project because their work environment is declining around them. We are currently working with Sutter Roofing to replace the damaged roof to keep the tenants in the building and move the project forward. We are also working with Arch Masonry and Restoration and the H.E. Neumann Company to ensure the masonry work and utilities are updated in relation to the roof repair. The roof work should be completed by spring. At that point we will need to move onto the boiler and the HVAC system that also needs replaced,” continued Delaney.
“Funding is the HPO’s priority to ensure the historical building’s renovation project moves forward,” added Cardi. “The building is home to art, culture, and philanthropy organizations vital to the Morgantown community and an important structure in the city’s business district. The Historic Morgantown Post Office Building is also key to revitalizing main street and the downtown business district. A thriving art community can be a key factor to a downtown’s economic wellness. The project is at the center of economic development in the downtown Morgantown area. The building is located adjacent to the historic Hotel Morgan, which has undergone extensive remodeling and is vital to the region’s tourism,” said Cardi.
The total cost to bring the building back to life is $10 million (at current costs). A plan to apply for historic and new market tax credits with the assistance of Wishneff and Associates is underway with hopes of securing half of the funding needed for the renovations. The HPO is also working with a marketing and development team seeking individual donations; corporate sponsorships; and federal, state, and local grants. A bank loan was secured to stabilize the building by immediately replacing the roof, repairing masonry, and relocating gas and electric lines before further damage incurred.
For more information, updates on renovations, questions, or to donate to the project, please follow HPO Morgantown on the web and social media (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube); email firstname.lastname@example.org; or send checks to P.O Box 26, Morgantown, WV 26507.
BUILDING TENANTS Monongalia Arts Center (MAC)
MAC serves as a home for visual arts, performing arts, and educational and community outreach programming for the Morgantown community. MAC needs classroom/studio spaces, improved backstage/support spaces for the Tanner Theatre, and additional gallery space. MAC’s programming is currently spread across three floors. The renovation will allow MAC to expand the number of programs and activities it provides to the community as well as improve its current curriculum.
Your Community Foundation (YCF)
Serving five counties in north central West Virginia, YCF’s mission is to promote philanthropy and build endowment funds to benefit local communities. YCF enables local people with philanthropic interests to easily and effectively support the issues they care about with grants and scholarships to qualified people, programs, and projects. To achieve its mission, YCF requires a fully functional office space for both its employees and clients. YCF’s current office does not meet these standards due to the deteriorating condition of the roof. The aging roof of the 1931 Addition is subject to significant leaks that have become severe enough to force YCF to temporarily relocate.
Morgantown History Museum
The city-sponsored Morgantown History Museum’s mission is to preserve and promote local and regional history and to make it accessible to the citizens of Morgantown and visitors to the region. The Museum has worked hard to collect and display local cultural artifacts, presented speaker series, hosted traveling exhibits, and other historical and educational programs. The Museum’s existing space is well curated and takes full advantage of the Museum’s current home in the lower level of the 1931 addition. The Museum requires additional exhibition and storage space for its steadily expanded collection as well as improved access to the amenities the historic building offers. By installing multiple teaser-exhibits on the first floor near entry points and improving accessibility throughout the building, the Museum will be able to reach a larger audience as well as support additional programming and events.
The Historic Morgantown Post Office Building was designed and constructed in response to a period of growth in Morgantown that was occurring during the latter part of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. It was the first federal building and post office constructed and owned by the United States Government in the city. As was common for public buildings of the time, it was designed in the Neo-Classical style, which reflected the status of governmental buildings and the ever-changing architectural tastes. In fact, it has been said that it is the only Neo-Classical building in the city today.
The original portion of the building was completed in the fall of 1914. After serving the needs of the growing public for years, it was decided that additional space was necessary to increase mail processing facilities. In 1931, the structure was partially remodeled, and a two-story addition constructed to the rear as the annex. The Kirk Street side of the addition was designed to blend in well with the original building while the rear and northeast side were treated less stately using some or all yellow brick. The addition housed mostly non-public functions and the interior finishes reflected that as well.
In the early 1970s the post office and other federal services outgrew the older facility and moved to a new structure constructed in another location. The General Services Administration (GSA) closed the building and sold it to the Louis F. Tanner family. The Monongalia County Arts Center Association was conveyed the Original 1914 Building and the 1931 Addition was kept for use as offices by Tanner & Tanner, Certified Public Accountants. Changes were made to facilitate reuse and bring the building up to then current building codes, but this activity mostly occurred in the interior where it is not readily visible.
The building nomination process for inclusion in National Register of Historic Places began in 1978 with the listing approved on March 28, 1979.
Jane Cardi, HPO President
The Historic Morgantown Post Office Building, Inc (HPO)
P.O Box 26
Morgantown, WV 26507 P: 304.685.3430
Facebook, Instagram, YouTube @HPOMorgantown