Second opinion offers stark contrast from first regarding Courthouse mold

Adams County Courthouse aerial

Adams County Courthouse — MRN file photo

QUINCY — First the Adams County Courthouse didn’t need to be closed. Then it did. Now it doesn’t.

John Jurgeil of Jurgeil and Associates out of St. Charles, Mo., gave a report to the Adams County Board Tuesday night that said the building did need some remediation, it was okay to continue conducting business there.

Ryan Hinkamper (R-District 2) asked to rank the building’s condition on scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being “pristine” and Jurgeil said he would give it “an eight or a nine.”

This is a stark contrast from the report the County Board received from SafeStart Environmental out of Chicago, which showed higher levels of stachybotrys (Black Mold) and other types of mold spores.

The County hired Safestart to test the building and company officials did so in April. They relayed their findings to some members of the County Board in May and the entire Board was given the report in June, which said work needed to be done, but could be spread out over time and the Courthouse could remain open.

SafeStart officials and experts they provided had more urgency in a Zoom meeting the company sponsored on June 28, where company officials and experts they provided said work should stop in the building.

Jurgeil said his team did roughly two dozens tests and found no traces of stachybotrys and other mold spores were present, but consistent without outside conditions. He also said that the building’s windows should remain closed as not to allow moisture and other mold spores directly into the building.

Steve McQueen (R-District 4) asked if the stachybotrys just “took a vacation” because of the differences in the two tests. Jurgeil said he was also caught by surprise by the findings, but said that some of the cleaning that had been done could have made a difference and there could have been more mold stirred up by other activities during SafeStart’s testing.

Adams County State’s Attorney Gary Farha asked Jurgeil point blank if the building should be closed and he said no.

Jurgiel will submit a plan for what he will recommend in terms of remediation, but he said he did not believe it would need to be on a large scale that would include replacing walls or ducts.

“He’s going to get us a plan,” said Dave Bellis (R-District 3).

In the meantime, the County Board approved the low bid of $78,560 from Peters Heating and Air to add air scrubbing system to the building’s HVAC system. The work will be done when the Courthouse isn’t open for normal business hours.

Both Jurgeil and SafeStart’s reports are linked below.

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