An engineering firm hired by the Town of Grantsville has recommended demolishing the current town structure, based on a recent evaluation.

"Localized catastrophic failure could occur in any of these areas, resulting in parts of the wall falling outside of the building," said the report.

Cerrone Associates of Wheeling has advised the town to pursue a safer facility for office space due to its proximity to the maintenance area, which the firm says must be placed off-limits.

The town must "immediately abandon the maintenance garage (old fire station) and quarantine the facility from public occupation adjacent to the side and rear walls."

The town's business offices share a common wall with the garage, putting the offices at risk.

The report said it would be prohibitive for the current structure to be rehabilitated, and recommended demolition stating "construction of a new facility would be less expensive."

Cerrone said the most urgent issue is vertical and diagonal cracks in the concrete blocks, some as thick as 3/4 inch.

The firm said the 1960s building is continuing to settle and has little or no steel reinforcement, with the walls and floors showing signs of separating.

"It may or may not be advisable to build on the current site," said Cerrone, although its location is preferred.

Jim Morris of the Town Hall Committee advised council this week he would be drilling two test pits recommended by Cerrone, after they expressed concern about using the site for a new building.

Mayor Neil Blankenship has said a new town hall should be built on the present site.

This week council has been advised that a office building Morris had offered to the town has been sold. Morris said he will make available a house next door, free of charge for two years.

Problems related to the town hall have been ongoing for several years.