SPRINGFIELD — After years of local justice officials detailing the health issues posed by the Roderick Ireland Courthouse, the Magistrates’ Court Executive Office is undertaking a feasibility study for a new courthouse.
In a letter dated April 4, Carol Gladstone, Commissioner of the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM), advised the trial court of her intention to investigate the possibility of constructing a new courthouse. justice.
Gladstone wrote: ‘DCAMM is recruiting an Architect to design plans for the comprehensive rehabilitation and refurbishment of the building systems and interior spaces of the existing Roderick Ireland Courthouse as outlined in the published Building Condition Assessment Report on February 24, 2022. [request for proposals] must be submitted to the Designer Select Board by April 13, 2022.
“To ensure that any decision regarding next steps for the Court Complex is carefully considered, in addition to the two projects described above, DCAMM plans to engage a consultant to undertake a site assessment and feasibility study of the construction of a new judicial complex.
“The site assessment and feasibility study will be conducted in two parts. First, DCAMM, in partnership with the trial court, will conduct a site assessment to compile and review private and public sites within the jurisdiction of the court complex. From the list of possible sites identified in the assessment, the trial court and DCAMM will select a preferred site. Once a preferred site is selected, DCAMM will conduct a feasibility study/test of the preferred site.
“The first step in starting the site assessment and feasibility study is for the trial court to identify the site assessment criteria. After the development of the criteria, the DCAMM consultant will begin the site evaluation. »
According to Chris Lisinski of the State House News Service, “Gov. Charlie Baker said last month he was concerned about the courthouse – named for retired Supreme Court Judicial Justice and Springfield native Roderick Ireland, who served as the first African Chief Justice US Supreme Court – but did not call for it to be closed.
The news was welcomed by Hampden Country Nick Cocci who issued the following statement: “I am pleased that the Commonwealth is taking the first step towards considering a new courthouse in Springfield. I hope that as the process unfolds, it will make as much fiscal sense as common sense to construct a new building that provides a healthy environment for the pursuit of justice in Western Massachusetts. .
Robert Rizzuto, senior public information officer for the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, told Reminder publication how the department manages court appearances. “The Hampden County Sheriff’s Office conducts all legal proceedings remotely, unless the court orders someone involved in the justice to appear in person. If that’s the case, we have an agreement with the judges whereby we bring the person directly to the courtroom for their hearing and remove them from the building immediately afterwards, unless, of course, they are released by the court. The process is in place to limit the time our inmates and staff spend in the building while ensuring that the pursuit of justice continues uninterrupted. We have agreed that under no circumstances will anyone in our custody be taken to the courthouse dungeon in the basement where the same carcinogenic mold was found which also exists in high concentrations in the former chambers of the late Justices Robert Kumor and William Boyle,” he said.
James Lydon of the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office said Reminder publication“The DA has begun a process, after evacuating its staff at the end of last summer, to relocate all of its staff permanently to offices in Tower Square. This process is nearing completion. Members of the office continue to go to the courthouse to meet our obligations to the public and criminal justice, no one is present at the courthouse full time.