BOSTON (SHNS) – State building officials will explore the idea of building a new court complex in Springfield, appearing to open the door to investing in a brand-new facility amid ongoing efforts to renovate the dilapidated and highly criticized Roderick Ireland Courthouse.
Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance Commissioner Carol Gladstone on Monday said her department plans to hire a consultant to work through feasibility questions about building a new court facility from scratch.
That effort will occur alongside work on two fronts at the existing Springfield court complex: a “dehumidification project to resolve humidity control issues,” whose construction DCAMM expects will begin in June, and a “comprehensive rehabilitation and renovation” at the Roderick Ireland Courthouse.
“To ensure that any decision regarding next steps for the Court Complex is thoroughly vetted, in addition to the two projects laid out above, DCAMM plans to procure a consultant to undertake a site assessment and feasibility study of constructing a new Court Complex,” Gladstone wrote in a letter to top judiciary officials.
Elected officials and community leaders for months have called for the existing courthouse to be shut down entirely and replaced, pointing to widely reported issues such as sewage leaks and air quality concerns within its walls.
Gov. Charlie Baker last month said he was concerned about the courthouse — named for retired Supreme Judicial Court Justice and Springfield native Roderick Ireland, who was the top court’s first African-American chief justice — but stopped short of calling for its closure.