The Associated Press

Hampden County Court Plagued With Problems

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The Hampden County clerk of courts is hoping a letter she sent to lawmakers detailing the myriad problems at the Springfield courthouse leads to a new facility.

Laura Gentile said in the letter that the building has mold in the vents and an uneven heating system that makes some areas unbearably cold and others hot, leaks, shakes when large trucks drive past and most areas are not accessible to the disabled.

The nearly 40-year-old building is inadequate for the number of cases it handles, its lockup facilities are overcrowded and its security is insufficient, she said in the letter, according to The Republican newspaper of Springfield.

“The courthouse is too small, the security needs aren’t met,” Gentile said.

State Sen. Gale Canderas, D-Wilbraham, vice chairwoman of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Judiciary, understands Gentile’s concerns.

“There are too many things that cannot be fixed,” Candaras said. “It is a building that no longer meets the needs of the population it serves, and that is true for the thousands of people who access it. It’s true for the hundreds of people who work in it.”

Problems are expected to worsen with a repair project to nearby Interstate 91 upcoming and the possible construction of a casino in the city.

Separately, State Rep. Sean Curran, D-Springfield, who serves on the judiciary committee, filed a bill asking the Legislature to approve a study to determine if a new courthouse should be built.

The state has built courts in Worcester, Plymouth, Fall River, Taunton and Salem in the past several years. New trial courts are being designed for Lowell and Greenfield.

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