Many hesitant to re-enter Springfield courthouse after mold findings | News
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — The Roderick Ireland Courthouse in downtown Springfield reopened Thursday after a two-week shut down due to mold, but many are refusing to go back in the building.
The building is back open to the public following an environmental report that said only three areas of the building were deemed unacceptable.
But it’s far from a fully-staffed operation, as officials don’t want to send workers, inmates, and members of the public in there quite yet.
“It still smells the same way, you know?” Blake Bogan said.
Bogan went into the Roderick Ireland Courthouse to try and get bail money back. Even following the two-week shut down due to mold, he said he couldn’t complete the errand.
“It was all remote; there was nobody in there. I mean it’s basically shut down,” Bogan explained.
Court officers were in the building on Thursday, but many were not.
The register of probate allowed staff to remain working remotely. The Hampden County Clerk of Courts switched to a rotating schedule after the staff tried working in the conditions left after the building cleaned over the weekend:
Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi announced he won’t send inmates there, especially after he saw these pictures taken Thursday of his facilities within the courthouse.
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — The Roderick Ireland Courthouse in downtown Springfield will …
“Do I think people are going to court tomorrow? No. Do I think we can do some work over the weekend and take a look at it again on Monday? That’s my intention,” Cocchi said.
Cocchi said he looked at the environmental report released Wednesday and was especially concerned about the air ducts and vents, especially when inmates are dropped off at court by 9 a.m., with no clear timeline for how long they’ll stay in the building.
“If you’re seen early, maybe you’re there three hours, but if you’re not seen until the afternoon session, you could be up there for six to seven hours,” Cocchi said.
Cocchi said he spoke with the Hampden District Attorney, who told Western Mass News he would not send his staff back in the building until independent testing could be completed.
Cocci said after years of health concerns surrounding the building, he wants to protect both the inmates and the public.
“What no one’s going to say is that Cocchi arbitrarily put people in harm’s way,” Cocchi said.
In Worcester Superior Court Thursday, a hearing was set for September 20 on the class-action lawsuit filed by the Hampden Register of Deeds against Massachusetts trial court officials.
Immediately afterward a temporary restraining order was heard by the judge in an attempt to close the building again.