Court Staff Packing For Move To Seabrook

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By Susan Morse

Hampton Union, Tuesday, November 1, 2005

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

HAMPTON -- The District Court is moving to its new temporary quarters next week, opening at 130 Ledge Road in Seabrook on Monday, Nov. 14.

The current Winnacunnet Road facility will close after its last session on Monday, Nov. 7.

The move follows months of searching for a site, even as the state looks for a new, permanent location.

The 100-year-old courthouse has suffered infestations of fleas and mold, is not wheelchair accessible and, two years ago, sustained water damage when pipes burst in the basement.

Fumigators have been in the building more than once.

Staffers have been going through records stored in a crawl space in the basement to make sure they don't throw away any open case files.

The staff calls it the dungeon, said Deputy Clerk Belle Coyne. When the pipes burst two winters ago, the cardboard file boxes got wet.

Dede Lamie, who is going through most of them, has also found evidence of mouse droppings.

"It's so tedious," she said. "In the long run, it's really good that we've done it. It's just trying to wade through all of the cases which have been drowned in the basement, and have mold."

Lamie, Michelle Clark and Shannon Titcomb will join Coyne, Court Clerk John Clark and Judge Frasier J. Frasier in making the move to Seabrook.

Coyne, Clark and Frasier have each worked for the court for more than 20 years.

There might be a few sentimental moments when movers come for the packed boxes next week. The building has the character of an old house, from the matchstick paneling in the kitchen to the wooden shelves built by John Clark to hold records.

And of course, there's the high-ceilinged, wooden-railed courtroom upstairs where Judge Frasier has ruled from his bench for at least 25 years.

Everyone is looking forward to the new home, said Coyne, which comes with none of the problems of the old.

"It's nice," she said.

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