No air adds to needed repairs at Petersburg court facilities - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

No air adds to needed repairs at Petersburg court facilities

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PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) -

NBC12 is getting answers just hours after a Petersburg judge says the circuit court building is unsafe for employees to work in. Now city leaders are scrambling to repair the building's AC unit, but that's not the only problem for taxpayers.

For a week now, portable fans have been on full blast as employees at Petersburg's circuit court try to keep cool in 90 degree temperatures.

The environment so is hot - a judge just issued a court order - requiring circuit court to temporarily close three hours early each day "due to the continued lack of air conditioning…and the high temperatures that will jeopardize the health, welfare and safety of the public and the employees…"

"We've been having some issues with our air conditioning system for a number of years now. We had the same thing happen with the compressor in 2004. It was repaired. 2010, it was repaired and in 2014 it's just beyond repair," said court liaison Benjamin Scott.

It will take nearly $11,000 to get it under control. This as the court is moving all of its cases next door to the main courthouse. But there are challenges there too.

"Anytime you have an aging, historic facility, you're going to have unforeseen things come up," said City Manager William Johnson.

So far Petersburg has spent more than $18,000 to stabilize the clock tower at the courthouse after it was deemed unsafe. The situation so severe, the court had to temporarily move its cases to Dinwiddie. Now, an extra $35,000 has been dished out for a survey to determine additional repairs needed for the aging courthouse.

"You're talking about a building that was built in the 1800s. It's historic. It will take a long process. I won't begin to speculate on how much the cost will be," Johnson said.

The city will learn next month what it will take to begin repairs at the main courthouse.
As for air conditioning at circuit court, the city hopes to have it restored by Tuesday.

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