Duncan court closed, tests positive for mold

Duncan court closed, tests positive for mold

DUNCAN, Okla._The Duncan Municipal Court has closed its doors indefinitely after mold was found throughout the building.

Last week, following several leaky areas in the ceiling due to recent rainfall, the city made the decision to have the building's air quality tested. Thursday, the results came back positive for mold.

In order to keep from inconveniencing their customers, employees will remain working in the building come Monday, from 7:00 a.m. until noon. Then, the shortened schedule will allow employees to start moving into a building across the street where they'll be able to perform their regular duties starting Tuesday.

Duncan resident Guy Baird utilizes the Municipal Court's drive-thru each month, where he drops off his utility bills. He has been doing it for years and says it's a service he's grown accustomed to.

"I saw [the person] before me pick up and put it in the slot and I figured something was up and I pulled up and saw the sign 'closed until further notice,' so I'm going to have to figure something else out," said Baird.

Though closing down the building will be a big inconvenience to the people, Mayor Ritchie Dennington says it's something that has to be done.

"Public safety and employee safety, there is no negotiations on that, there's no type of situation that would allow you to continue on," said Mayor Dennington.

Mayor Dennington says heavy rain, coupled with a leaking roof, is most likely to blame for mold that was found growing behind baseboards, ceiling corners and even some walls. He says the age of the building has only added to the problem. He says that is why the decision on how to resolve this problem is a complicated one.

"We're looking at the whole gambit right now of what it's going to take to remediate it, to get it to a safe level or what we have to do and we don't know what that is," said Mayor Dennington.

City officials say the work needed can't be done overnight, since they'll have to fix both the building's interior and exterior water damage to help keep moisture out in order to prevent the mold from returning.

"There's a good chance it isn't going to be very cheap, things like this never are. We will do what is proper and right, and we just don't know where we are at," said Mayor Dennington.

Baird says he feels the city is taking the appropriate actions to make sure everyone stays safe.

"You have to get out of there people can get sick, allergies and things like that so it's a wise decision," said Baird.

Mayor Dennington also says he it's not clear how long it will take to make the needed repairs. In the meantime, city fines will be handled in the temporary location. Utility bills will have to be paid in person, or mailed to the city's utility office.

The city has a certified company that is assisting to help clear up the mold problem. The type of mold has not been identified.