Closure of Guma’ Hustisia nears 3 months


The Judiciary published its first public notice in mid-March announcing the Guma’ Hustisia’s closure when its air-conditioning system broke down. Over two months later, the air-conditioning system remains in disrepair and the Judiciary continues to wait for funding from the Legislature to restore its operations.

To ensure judicial services continue, alternate sites have been secured to hold court trials and hearings and to assist the public. The Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center has served as one location for court hearings and events; however, continuous usage of the center, a federally-funded facility, is limited. The governor’s special assistant for administration has granted six months, effective March 2018.

The U.S. District Court in Garapan has also served as a venue for jury trials and hearings when a courtroom is available. The Family Court Division and the Drug Court Division have been operating and holding meetings at the Department of Public Safety training room in Susupe. The Judiciary has been shuttling staff, files, and equipment to these and other alternate sites.

Only one of the three chillers powering the Judiciary’s air-conditioning system has been partially functioning. Even with the partially functioning chiller being monitored daily, the air-conditioning system has broken down multiple times and continues to malfunction.

The partially operating system is insufficient to cool the building. In parts of the building, temperatures have measured over 80 degrees, even while unoccupied. The Judiciary continues to enlist the assistance of the Bureau of Environmental Health to monitor building conditions.

Having requested funding for air-conditioning repair and mold removal in previous budgets, the Judiciary was familiar with some of the costs necessary for the repairs. The $7 million request to the Legislature includes the costs of installing a new air-conditioning system and removing mold from the building. In addition to replacing the air-conditioning system, the funding will be used to replace mold-infested fabric acoustic walls, ceiling boards, and carpeting in the six courtrooms. The funding will also be used to retain an industrial hygienist and building specialists, address temporary alternate site needs, remove soft materials from the building, and repair roof and window leakages in order to prevent further mold growth.

Procurement regulations prevent the Judiciary from contracting with vendors until funding is in place. Once funding has been allocated, the Judiciary will follow the procurement regulations and according to the legislation, expenditure authority will remain with the Finance secretary.

The bill to fund the various important projects to restore the Guma’ Hustisia is still pending in the Legislature.
According to a Judiciary statement, it apologizes for the inconvenience the closure has caused and remains hopeful that the funding is forthcoming from the legislation. (PR)

Press Release
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