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South Carolina county delays move from moldy courthouse

SPARTANBURG (AP) Officials in a South Carolina county are delaying a decision on where to move employees who have been working in a courthouse plagued with mold problems.

Media outlets reported that Spartanburg County Council agreed Feb. 19 to wait another week before deciding where to relocate about 250 courthouse employees until a new judicial center is built.

The council had asked Justice Planning Associates last week to find a suitable temporary location for all courthouse functions.

Mike Thomas, president of Justice Planning Associates, told council it had checked more than 100 sites in the city and county and most had too little space, leaky roofs, lacked public safety protections or lacked enough parking.

Thomas asked for another week to continue the search.

“The more we looked, the harder it gets to meet the requirement,” he said.

“Let’s make sure we look under every stone,” said Councilman David Britt.

Thomas said he thinks a warehouse-type building would be best for a temporary courthouse. He is looking for 150,000 square feet and 600 parking spaces.

Mold problems were first discovered in August 2016.

County voters in November approved a 1 penny sales tax increase to pay for a new courthouse and a new city-county complex. A new facility is unlikely to be ready before 2020.

Earlier this month, five courthouse employees sued the county, claiming ailments suffered were the result of mold exposure inside the 60-year-old building.

Thomas said previously when a new site is located, it would take about three months to design the transition site and another six months to construct it with walls between courtrooms and offices and hallways.

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