Judiciary AC is temporarily fixed


The 22-year-old air-conditioning system at the House of Justice or Guma Hustisia building in Susupe was temporarily fixed a few weeks ago, Saipan Tribune learned.

The building has been closed to the public for over two months now.

Sources said the air inside the building still needs further testing, though, while ongoing cleanup from mold is ongoing.

Sources disclosed that the Judiciary’s maintenance, assisted by JWS Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Ltd., temporarily fixed the air-conditioning system until a new one can be installed.

As of press time Thursday, Saipan Tribune was still awaiting comments from the Judiciary.

As the repair is only temporary, the air-conditioning system can break anytime again, sources said.

The temporary fix is why some court employees are still working inside the courthouse.

The building’s re-opening to the public remains uncertain as the Judiciary needs an estimated $7 million to replace the main air-conditioning system and to get rid of the mold.

Last April 18, CNMI Judiciary director of courts Sonia A. Camacho stated that their goal is to reopen the House of Justice at the earliest time possible.

“Reopening depends on a working air-conditioning system and remediating the mold in the building,” Camacho said.

The courts director disclosed that the current estimated budget to replace the air-conditioning system is $4.4 million and $2.6 million for mold remediation.

The building has remained closed to the public since last March 16.

Last March 27, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. Bureau of Environmental Health confirmed the presence of mold in the building.

Mold remediation efforts include replacing carpeting in courtrooms and offices, digitizing affected documents and files, replacing acoustics wall panels in the courtrooms and acoustical ceiling boards, retaining industrial hygienist professionals, and other measures.

Camacho said the Judiciary has been collaborating with both the Legislature and Executive Branch to secure funding.

Camacho said the main air-conditioning system is over 22 years old and that for such equipment to last beyond its estimated useful life, with the unrelenting tropical elements, is a testament that the Judiciary has taken extraordinary measures over the years.

The Judiciary has extended the limited and restricted access to certain employees, while alternative work sites have been created to limit entrance into the building.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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