Building closed by methane gas will not reopen, Bridgeport Township offices to move

BRIDGEPORT TOWNSHIP (WJRT) - (06/12/18) - Bridgeport Township's Governmental Center which was closed by methane gas in April, will not reopen.

The building sits on top of a landfill. Over the years there have been problems with the building settling.

On April 6 a few employees became sick and environmental testing was ordered.

Testing by AKT Peerless showed the presence of methane gas.

Township leaders have explored several options to repair and stabilize the building, but instead decided to close it.

"We're going to completely evacuate the building and shut it down. It means utilities as well," said Fire Chief Patrick Nelson, who has served as the public information officer for this situation.

"It's not a cheap fix, it's a minimum of about $600,000, upwards to $1.5 million depending on what we do," Nelson said. "And really there isn't anybody who's going to put a guarantee on that. It's built on a landfill so as things get, materials continue to deteriorate, it's going to off-gas."

Employees who used to work in the Bridgeport Township Government Center have started packing items which had been left in the building.

Other items had already been moved to the Public Works Building and the fire station, where workers had temporarily relocated while a solution was researched.

Those employees will move to the former United Pentacostal Church, 6740 Dixie Highway. It's a few miles away.

Moving will continue through the week.

"People have occupied that building since 1980, and there's a lot of stuff in there. You know, it's kind of like your house, you don't realize how much stuff you have until you go to pack it and move," Nelson said.

Computers, phones, important files and the police department have to move too.

The township also is working to find a good way to retain and secure documents they are required to keep. Currently there is a safe at the Government Center where those types of items are kept.

And while township leaders are grateful this space was available, this may not be the final move.

"We just don't know at this point. We have to make a decision on what ultimately to do with this building back here, and then space. The new building does not have as much space as this building does," Nelson said.

The township's goal is to have the new building open on Monday, but it could be a day or so later. We'll keep you updated.

Residents will continue to pay township bills at the Public Works Building, which sits behind the fire department, until the township announces the move is complete.