Community officials realized that the vacant and deteriorating jail offered re-use promise. "When we first decided to convert the old Wood County Jail, which was premium real estate space but not being utilized in any fashion, we realized there was a growing need for records retention and that we needed to keep them in-house close to the judges, elected officials, and the public who need them," said Bill L. Lorenzen, buildings and grounds maintenance superintendent for the Wood County Court House Complex.
To update the building and make it useful, the interior required total gutting. "We completely demolished the interior," Lorenzen said. "It had steel floors with concrete on top of the steel and steel prison bars welded to the steel substrate." Demolishing the interior meant starting at the top floor and working down to the ground. A 12-ft-by-12-ft access hole through the fourth floor was cut so that concrete, steel, and bars could be dropped down in dumbwaiters.