The finishing touches on extensive repairs to Lawrence’s Fenton Justice Center, caused by severe flooding on Super Bowl Sunday, were completed this month.
A few hours before kickoff, Matthew Sepe, Manager of Court Facilities for Region 3, was notified by the Lawrence Fire Department of an alarm at the courthouse.
When Mr. Sepe and several Facilities staff members arrived at the scene, they found eight inches of water in the Probate & Family Court offices, the District Attorney’s office, and Facilities Management offices.
The team quickly determined that a malfunction in the air ventilation system had allowed frigid air to pour into the ground level ceiling space, causing a fire sprinkler water pipe to freeze and burst. They immediately contacted a disaster recovery contractor, who worked with Trial Court Facilities staff throughout the night to vacuum up water, remove office equipment, and set up commercial size dehumidifiers and drying fans to repair the damage.
After Facilities received exorbitant estimates from outside contractors to replace damaged walls, electrical wiring, and flooring, they did a cost analysis and discovered that the team had the skills needed to remodel the space at a cost of $100,000 less than the external estimates.
A team of Facilities professionals from the Fenton and surrounding courthouses led by Building Supervisor Steve Zalewski mobilized and began the remodeling process. Since staff members still had their regular duties to perform, including snow removal during the snowiest winter on record, they accomplished most of the work during evenings and weekends.
By late May, the areas were ready for Fenton court staff to move back into their renovated space. “The feedback from everyone impacted by the flooding has been very positive and appreciative,” said Mr. Sepe.
Fenton Judicial Center – Emergency Project Facilities Team