ABERDEEN, Miss. (WCBI) – Renovations to the Thomas G. Abernethy Federal Building in Aberdeen began on Wednesday to address mold issues that date back to at least 1992.
“They will change the windows, they will come in and do some reduction to clean up the mold situation and they will modernize the technical part of the building,” said Aberdeen Mayor Charles Scott.
For years, staff members have reported suffering from headaches, dizziness and asthma. The mold can be traced to problems with the original air conditioning and heating equipment in the 1971 building, according to a press release from the courthouse.
Mold forced the judges and clerks out in 2017, and the building only houses the city’s post office.
“Over $24 million has been appropriated (by the federal court system) to completely renovate the courthouse,” Mayor Scott said. “This is going to have a huge impact on our community.”
Mayor Scott says the money will be used to remove mold and lead paint as well as improve heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems. He says the return of the federal court system to Aberdeen will boost the city’s growth.
“We are currently working on renovating the Parkway Hotel and this will be important for our community as we plan to turn it into a boutique hotel that will have a nice restaurant,” he says.
The goal is for local businesses to be ready and able to handle the increased traffic that future legal proceedings will bring.
“By bringing lawyers and people who are likely to be brought to justice to the city centre, it allows them to visit our city,” said the mayor.
Mayor Scott thanks U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock and several federal officials for lobbying to fund the renovations that will keep the courthouse in Aberdeen.
The mayor says they hope the courthouse will be ready to reopen by 2024.