UNION — Officials believe the black mold that contaminated the Monroe County Courthouse has now been eradicated, but work to restore the structure is still in progress.

“We are out of the emergency situation at this time,” county commission President Shane Ashley told The Register-Herald Friday. “The mold is gone, to the best of our knowledge.”

After the mold infestation was discovered in the historic building in April, the commission called in InspectRite Services Inc. to remediate the problem, which turned out to be more widespread than originally believed.

All of the courthouse’s judicial offices — including the second floor courtroom — along with the assessor’s office, several restrooms, two hallways and the building’s attic had to be closed off for a substantial period of time for mold removal. The entire courthouse was closed for the better part of a week when the remediation process began.

Floors, ceilings, walls and insulation had to be ripped out and disposed of as the process continued, leaving a challenging construction project, which is still in progress, under the supervision of Melvin Young.

Ashley said Young reported to the commission Wednesday that the restoration of the judge’s office is now complete, and framing is being installed in the courtroom.

But before authorizing a continuation of the project, commissioners asked Young to “price out” the remaining tasks, Ashley said, noting the tab for remediation and restoration is already more than $150,000.

The county’s insurance policy has a “mold exclusion” clause, cutting off that potential recourse for financial aid, but Ashley said the state has already approved some grant money that can be used toward the costly project.

He said the restoration is being done in accordance with advice from InspectRite’s Roland S. Jones on how to prevent the mold problem from cropping up in the future.

“This didn’t happen overnight,” Ashley pointed out. Referring to the venerable building’s age, he added, “It’s a 173-year-old problem.”

Story from The Register-Herald

Recommended for you