New air quality report released for Roderick Ireland Courthouse in Springfield

New air quality report released for Roderick Ireland Courthouse in Springfield
Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 11:46 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) -The State’s Trial Court released a new air quality assessment of the Roderick Ireland Courthouse in Springfield.

The test did not show mold impacting the indoor air for most locations of the building. This is also happening less than a week before a lawsuit against the trial court is set to go before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

The Trial Court said it contracted a firm, Environmental Health and Engineering, to assess the air quality in the building. Thursday, the results of that assessment were revealed, but attorneys suing the trial court said it doesn’t scratch the surface.

“It doesn’t really change our position and I don’t think it really changes the trial court’s position,” said Laura Mangini, Lead Counsel of Trial Court Lawsuit.

On Thursday, the Massachusetts Trial Court released findings of an indoor air quality assessment performed by Environmental Health and Engineering inside the Roderick Ireland Courthouse in Springfield. The assessment, conducted on April 1, followed months of controversy surrounding the building after it was shut down temporarily last summer due to mold and then in February of this year, an independent study found toxic, cancer-causing mold inside the building.

Cleanup and remediation efforts have been underway inside the courthouse and according to the report released Thursday, total mold spore concentrations decreased from August 2019 to April 2022 and total indoor mold spore concentrations are below those outdoors.

“We got this report about 30 seconds before the general public did, so our reaction was just as surprising as yours,” said Mangini.

Mangini, who is representing employees in a lawsuit against the Trial Court, told Western Mass News the report is very general and missing several key details to make the occupants of the building feel safe.

“They’re trying to compare the inside mold that they’re finding to the outdoor mold, but they’re not comparing the species, so you don’t even know that they’re comparing the same types of mold, so it’s an apples to oranges comparison that again, we don’t think really tells us anything,” said Mangini.

The report also said the ceiling tiles, once water-stained, were clean when the testing was done.

“But what you don’t see and hear is whether or not they had a conversation with the facilities to find out when was the last time those ceiling tiles were changed. Was it just yesterday before they came in to do the inspection and that’s why they’re all clean? How many times did they have to change them between August of last year when they did the initial inspection and now? If it’s multiple times, that shows that there still is a moisture infiltration problem within the courthouse,” said Mangini.

As both sides prepare for next week’s trial, Mangini said she hopes everyone is working towards the same goal.

“Hopefully the underlying goal for everyone is the health and safety of people within that building that have to go there and work on a daily basis,” said Mangini.

A trial court spokesperson said leaders continue to work with DCAMM and the Executive Office of Administration and Finance to find the best long-term solution for the Springfield courthouse and its employees. Meantime, the State Supreme Judicial Court is expected to hear the case against the trial court on April 27. Mangini told Western Mass News it’s unknown if this new report will enter into the trial because it’s so late-produced and there are deadlines.