DA: Staff won’t be full-time at Springfield courthouse until conditions are safe

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Roderick Ireland Courthouse in Springfield will reopen Thursday after the review of the report from the mold remediation company.

The test results for the Roderick Ireland Courthouse in Springfield were released Wednesday. Three areas of the courthouse are in unacceptable conditions.

According to a statement from the Trial Court sent to the Springfield Courthouse judges and staff, a town hall was held Wednesday morning to review the progress and steps taken to address the appearance of the suspected mold. After the review, the Trial Court expects to open the courthouse Thursday.

Jim Leydon, spokesperson for the Hampden District Attorney’s Office said employees will not be returning to the building on a daily basis and will return to the courthouse when necessary for hearings and trials. They will continue to work at the DA’s Tower Square office.

The DA’s office space, as well as most probate offices, and Registry of Deeds Office was not tested for mold, so they will be hiring their own environmental companies to go in there to clean and test. Leydon added that the DA’s office will be advocating for a total replacement of the courthouse as a long-term goal.

The cleaning process began Thursday, August 26 by mold remediation company US Ecology as well as air and surface testing by environmental testing company TRC. They confirm the presence of mold in several locations. The report cites the mold developing on building surfaces is due to increased humidity and outdoor airflow to minimize COVID-19 risks.

Roderick Ireland Courthouse Report

The report was obtained by 22News from the office of Alekman DiTusa, LLC indicated testing found three areas of the courthouse are in unacceptable conditions:

  1. Ground level mailroom
  2. 3rd floor Superior Courtroom 3
  3. 3rd floor Records Room (listed on floor plan as 3rd floor Superior Courtroom 1 Conference Room A)

TRC recommends further cleaning and sanitization of those areas. Law Firm Alekman DiTusa, who filed a lawsuit on September 1st on behalf of courthouse employees, have filed an injunction to keep the courthouse closed longer.

DiTusa represents the courthouse employees in a lawsuit and said the cleaning performed is not getting to the root of the problem.

“You can temporarily improve the air quality within the building but it’s a bandaid it’s not a real fix,” said Attorney Rob DiTusa.

According to TRC’s report, only certain parts of the courthouse were tested and cleaned, which did not test the air ducts. The testing found all but three areas of the courthouse are in acceptable conditions to reopen.

“How it is that theY expect people to go back to work in that building before a complete inspection is done of the building, we just think that’s deficient,” said DiTusa.

The report says the mold developing on building surfaces is due to increased humidity and outdoor airflow aimed at minimizing COVID-19 risks. But employees say mold and flooding problems inside the courthouse have been a problem for years.

“There are leaks within that building we have evidence of standing water on the fourth floor within the carpets,” said DiTusa.

Providing time to have an in-person hearing regarding the conditions. They are waiting for approval or denial of that injunction from the court in Worcester.

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