Water pipe breaks in ju­di­cial cen­ter

First floor court­rooms dam­aged, ju­ve­nile court of­fices moved

The Covington News - - News - GABRIEL KHOULI Staff Re­porter

A pipe broke Sun­day at the New­ton County Ju­di­cial Cen­ter, dam­ag­ing por­tions of the first floor, in­clud­ing the ju­ve­nile, mag­is­trate and pro­bate court­rooms and of­fices.

The cost of the water dam­age was not yet known, though the county’s in­sur­ance provider was on site Tues­day de­ter­min­ing restora­tion costs, said County Man­ager John Mid­dle­ton, who added no time­line for re­pairs has yet been de­ter­mined. He said in­sur­ance is ex­pected to cover all the restora­tion costs, and the county will only pay its $10,000 in­sur­ance de­ductible.

One of the chief con­cerns was whether records were dam­aged. Pro­bate Judge Henry Baker said all records sur­vived. The mois­ture is ex­pected to be ab­sorbed dur­ing the next cou­ple of days, while full re­pairs, in­clud­ing re­plac­ing car­pet and wooden base­boards, will likely take two to four weeks, Baker said.

Ju­ve­nile, mag­is­trate and pro­bate courts will have to tem­po­rar­ily move trial cases and hear­ings from the first floor court­rooms. Baker said Tues­day that court cases and hear­ings will be moved to Su­pe­rior Court court­rooms; when avail­able, the jury im­pan­el­ing room, the New­ton County Ad­min­is­tra­tion Build­ing and even the His­toric Court­house.

The break is be­lieved to have oc­curred in the ju­ve­nile court area. The ju­ve­nile court of­fices suf­fered the most dam­age and have been va­cated while crews worked to clean up the water dam­age. Ju­ve­nile court em­ploy­ees have been moved tem­po­rar­ily to the ad­min­is­tra­tion build­ing. For more in­for­ma­tion, call (770) 784-2060; hit zero to speak to the op­er­a­tor.

For more in­for­ma­tion about pro­bate court call (770) 784-2045 and for mag­is­trate court call (770) 784-2050. Baker said signs have been placed at the en­trance to di­rect peo­ple to the sec­ond floor court­rooms. Bailiffs will also be able to di­rect peo­ple to the ap­pro­pri­ate court­room.

An as­sis­tant dis­trict at­tor­ney dis­cov­ered the break when she came in Sun­day to get pa­per­work and saw water flow­ing out from un­der the first floor doors. A county worker then came over and cut the water off and work be­gan later to ab­sorb the water.

Baker also vis­ited the build­ing Sun­day to make sure no records had been dam­aged. He said the water was nearly an­kle high in the ju­ve­nile court, but there was only an inch or so of water in the pro­bate court area.

“We’re lucky some­one came in Sun­day to get pa­per­work,” Baker said. “Pipes al­ways seem to break on the week­end.”

Most re­cent pro­bate records are stored at least a cou­ple of inches off the ground, which pro­tected them, Baker said. Some very old state records were kept in boxes, but the boxes only got damp and no records were sig­nif­i­cantly af­fected.

The car­pet will likely have to be re­placed in some ar­eas and the court­rooms’ floor and base­boards will have to be re­paired or re­placed, Baker said.

“We’re not sure about the wiring, be­cause some of it is un­der the floor,” Baker said. “But it’s re­ally more of an in­con­ve­nience than any­thing else…they say re­pairs should be done within a month, but you never know what you’re go­ing to run into.”

Ju­ve­nile, mag­is­trate and pro­bate courts hold are in ses­sion mul­ti­ple days each week.

The cleanup ef­fort was han­dled by Ser­vicemaster by Love­joy, based out of Cony­ers, which was the first com­pany to respond to the county’s calls for sup­port, Mid­dle­ton said.

Gabriel Khouli/ The Cov­ing­ton News

Dam­age caused from bro­ken water pipes will tem­po­rar­ily force ju­ve­nile, mag­is­trate and pro­bate courts to move trial cases and hear­ings.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.