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PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — It’s been a year since the Pender County Courthouse closed its doors after Hurricane Florence hit. From the outside the building looks okay, but inside the building tells a different story.
Assistant County Manager Chad McEwen says the courthouse remains closed a year after the storm due to the extensive damage.
“People ride by that building and why is that building not open, it looks perfectly fine. It’s not,” McEwen said.
Stains from where water seeped through the walls, cracks, discolored floors, and puddles still remain in the basement.
“The administrative office of the courts, when they did come down, he named this building the sick building syndrome, because he said there is something causing everybody to get sick, we just don’t know what it is,” Elizabeth Craver, elected clerk of superior court, said.
Craver says the threat of asbestos and mold remains. Besides these potential health risks, with different court cases being spread across the county, it’s having an impact.
“We have people come to our office daily and complain and say that this is not right, this is not fair to them, they’ll either miss their court date or they’ll go to one building location and it not be there, and they have to drive across town,” Craver said.
Due to the building’s historical designation it makes repairs more complicated.
“That building has had substantial damage done to it by Florence, to the tune of millions and millions of dollars of specialized, specific work, that is just not related to the average structure that was damaged,” McEwen said.
McEwen says once a demo of the interior is done, they will be able to give a more accurate timeline of when the courthouse will reopen. They anticipate having the known work of the building bid out soon but it is still premature to give out a timeline when work will be done.