Two courtrooms in Columbus’ main government building are reopening after tests found a ruptured pipe did not introduce mold or harmful fungi into the air.
A ruptured drainpipe from the roof had dumped leaves, bird feces and other debris into the 11th-floor office of Muscogee County Superior Court Judge Gil McBride in June.
Documents obtained by the Ledger-Enquirer show tests of pipe debris showed no fungi associated with bird and bat droppings that can cause infections in people with weakened immune systems. Samples also showed no significant amounts of mold. Mold levels in the outside air were higher, suggesting the building’s air filtration system is working.
“The courts have been assured by the city that the courtrooms are safe for public use,” McBride wrote in a text message. “This is good news, especially for judges who were without courtrooms for next week.”
The 51-year-old building flooded because of water leaks twice in 2018.
Columbus leaders say they plan to ask voters to approve a special sales tax in November to repair or replace the building.
A nearly 80-pound panel fell in a seventh-floor courtroom and hit a court official a few weeks ago, prompting safety inspections of all courtrooms. Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson could not be reached Friday for an update on inspections.
McBride said Muscogee County jurors will continue to be selected at the municipal ice rink for now. Once jurors are selected, trials will take place in the regular courtrooms.