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Williamsport city workers begin to leave condemned City Hall for temporary offices

SUN-GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Several City Hall employees have vacated the premises following the condemnation last week by Bureau of Codes due to unhealthy levels of mold, mildew and, perhaps, airborne asbestos and radon.

The third floor has been vacated and the second floor will be vacated as of the end of the week, said Joseph Gerardi, city codes administrator, who condemned the two floors last week and because of an interconnected air duct system issued the condemnation notice that it was temporarily unfit for human occupancy.

Officials with the city administration of Mayor Derek Slaughter said they have begun to prepare Trade and Transit Centres I and II to provide the temporary relocation sites as well as other city-owned buildings.

Gerardi said the police and treasurer offices, which are on first floor and codes in the basement, will have until Sept. 3 to exit City Hall.

Gerardi said he condemned the building to protect the city from any potential liability as a result of any employee or member of the public becoming sick from any of the air quality indoors.

He noted the roof needed to be repaired before any remediation efforts could be undertaken.

“What good is remediation of air when the roof continues to leak in the next thunderstorm?” he asked.

The roof repair has been estimated to be about $450,000 to $500,000, he said.

While this is happening, the building continues to be updated in terms of accessibility, under a court-ordered consent decree, with a ramp on the West Fourth Street entrance, doors with push-buttons and the elevator modification, he said.

“This current development has caused us to reevaluate everything, particularly the financial side of the equation,” said council President Randall J. Allison.

Allison commended the administration and council, stating workers have a good plan in place for relocation.

“I believe these findings suggest the scope of the problem may be far reaching in its effects across the board,” he said.

“An assessment of the building infrastructure, financial implications and plans for the future are all on the table,” he added.

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