CHARLESTON, W.Va. - West Virginia State University has taken ownership of the West Virginia Rehabilitation Center in Institute.
The Rehab Center -- 15 buildings on 20 acres of land bordering the university campus -- has been unoccupied for years. It was shuttered in March 2011 by the state Fire Marshall, who said at the time electrical problems posed an "imminent threat" to occupants.
At the time the facilities housed the state Department of Rehabilitation Services, but the proclamation was the climax of a protracted dialogue between several state agencies that were concerned with deteriorating conditions at the complex.
The state Department of Education once controlled the state-owned facility, but it was later transferred to the Department of Administration.
In November 2010, an in-depth review of conditions at the site found severe problems with electricity and wiring. Needed repairs were estimated at more than $9 million. More than 160 workers would need to be relocated while the electrical work was completed.
Thunderstorms complicated matters, though, and in March 2011 the Fire Marshall inspected the facility and determined that the situation was so dire that it should not be occupied. It has been unused ever since.
The property contains 15 buildings but for now West Virginia State is concentrating on renovating the four-story administration building known as the F. Ray Power Building.
The property transfer was approved by the state Board of Public Works in a meeting on Monday.