State agency’s study at Springfield Courthouse could result in new court complex

This latest move by DCAMM is a sign of hope for people who have fought so long to get something done about it.
Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 10:16 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - The state’s Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, or DCAMM, said Monday that they will now look into the feasibility of a new courthouse in Springfield.

The courthouse has been the center of controversy after an independent study conducted in February found toxic, cancerous mold inside the building. It was also shut down temporarily over the summer, also due to mold.

This latest move by DCAMM is a sign of hope for people who have fought so long to get something done about it.

“We’re very happy that Boston has finally heard the drum that western Mass has been beating for a very, very long time,” said attorney Jeffrey Morneau.

DCAMM’s letter to the Massachusetts Trial Court was a small sign of relief on Monday. Officials said that DCAMM has already moved forward with a dehumidification project in the Roderick Ireland Courthouse in Springfield, as well as working on design plans for the $91 million rehabilitation and renovation of the existing building slated to begin this summer.

Now, Commissioner Carol Gladstone said, in part, quote:

“To ensure that any decision regarding next steps for the court complex is thoroughly vetted… DCAMM plans to procure a consultant to undertake a site assessment and feasibility study of constructing a new court complex.”

DCAMM said that the study will be conducted in two parts. As for how long that process will take, attorney Jeff Morneau, who has led the push for the shutdown of the current building, said that is up in the air.

“Obviously, we want it to move as quickly as possible,” Morneau said.

Many who have been open about their concerns with the courthouse reacted to this news. Hampden County Clerk of Courts Laura Gentile, who works inside the building daily, told Western Mass News, quote:

“I applaud the Governor for helping us when the wheels just seemed to keep spinning and spinning and we weren’t getting anywhere. We’re just glad that someone is taking up our cause and finally getting something done.”

Sheriff Nick Cocchi, who stopped sending inmates to the building after the discovery of toxic mold, said, in part:

“I am hopeful that as the process unfolds, it will make as much fiscal sense as it does common sense to construct a new building that provides a healthy environment for the pursuit of justice in western Massachusetts.”

“Things are moving quickly finally and we’re happy about that,” Morneau told us.

The state’s Supreme Judicial Court is set to hear the case against the Trial Court on April 27th. Morneau told us that he is looking forward to keeping the public aware of what is going on inside the courthouse.