10/26/06 — Duplin district attorney's office opens after repairs

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Duplin district attorney's office opens after repairs

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on October 26, 2006 2:19 PM

After six weeks of spreading their work around their Onslow and Sampson county locations, 4th District Attorney Dewey Hudson and the rest of his Duplin County staff are finally back in the Duplin Street office.

The office, which was closed so mold could cleaned out and water damage repaired, re-opened Wednesday.

"It didn't help matters (being closed). It was a tremendous inconvenience," Hudson said. "But we're back to operations. We were up and running (Wednesday)."

The work on the offices was done by the Duplin County Maintenance Department.

County Manager Mike Aldridge explained that cleaning up the offices was simply a matter of pulling off the vinyl wallpaper, replacing about 50 square feet of drywall where there was evidence of water marks or mold and cleaning the carpet.

"We probably got a couple thousand dollars in it," he said. "Once we got the wallpaper down, it wasn't as bad as we feared it would be. What we figured out before we took the wallpaper down were the only areas we had to take any drywall out."

However, there's still the issue of the high humidity.

Normal indoor ranges, Aldridge explained, are about 30 to 40 percent humidity. When they started renovations at the end of the summer, it was 70 percent inside the office.

To help combat the humidity this summer, the offices employed a tactic of running the air conditioner full blast, while also running just enough heat to keep it on. The air conditioner, Aldridge explained, helps dry the air out. It's a solution they're likely to continue to use.

"It's expensive, but it's effective," he said. "I think that's something we'll have to do during the July and August period."

Right now, he continued, it's really the only option the county has because the building's duct work is too old to install a commercial-size dehumidifier.

But for now they feel they've taken care of the mold problem.

"I think the culprit was the high humidity and the vinyl wallpaper trapping it in there," Aldridge said. "I'm hopeful the environment can survive those percentages of high humidity now that the vinyl wallpaper isn't there."