By LIZZ D’ENTREMONT
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Staff
September 16. 2008 8:50AM
NEW IPSWICH — For the third time in two years, an environmental study has been conducted on the toxic mold at the police station, only to confirm what the other two reports have already indicated — the police need to vacate the building immediately.
The latest report, prepared by Gordon Mycology Laboratory Inc., of Littleton, Mass., arrived at the town office last week.
According to Chief Garrett Chamberlain, “The report said that there was an obvious mold problem in the building, and that little or no time should be spent in the building until it was remediated. It was their recommendation that the building be gutted completely,” or at least stripped of all wall coverings, furnishings and flooring,” he said.
It was the same recommendation that Desmaris Environmental Consulting of Barrington made to the town on two separate occasions — once, after conducting a test on the SAU 63 side of the building in November 2006, and a second time, after conducting tests on the police station side of the building. In both instances, Desmaris stated the only way to effectively remove the toxic mold known as Aspergillis Versicolor was to gut the building down to its studs.
At tonight’s selectmen’s meeting, an update on how the town is going to proceed with the mold problem at the police station is expected.
Chamberlain said he has no idea what the selectmen are going to propose as far as a temporary or permanent location. He said he hopes the Police Department doesn’t end up in a trailer parked in front of the building.
“We’re under so much pressure to operate as a professional Police Department on a daily basis from the community. It’s difficult to provide professional police services when your operating out of a trailer.”
Chamberlain said one of the reasons the Police Department cannot move into a temporary trailer is because of a state and federal law that requires juveniles and adults to have separate holding cells. “One of the problems we run into is if we arrest a 17-year-old and a 16-year-old in a car, they cannot be in the same room in the police station by law because one is an adult and one is a juvenile. “They have to be separated by sight and sound,” he said.
Chamberlain said that a modular, similar to the one that the Mason Police Department uses, is a better option. He said he must wait and see what the selectmen decide. “That [a modular] would be ideal,” he said. “It would suffice as a permanent police station.”