Thomas G. Abernethy Federal Building in Aberdeen

Renovations will soon be underway for the Thomas G. Abernethy Federal Building in Aberdeen and the home to the U.S. District Court of Northern Mississippi hopes to reopen for proceedings in early 2021.

The new construction, expected to start in late summer, comes after the federal courthouse was forced to relocate proceedings in 2017 due to mold issues “from decades of deferred maintenance by the General Services Administration,” a court press release said. Complaints about mold in the building date back to 1992 and court employees had reported symptoms consistent with mold exposure – like headaches, dizziness, asthma, respiratory issues and severe allergy symptoms – prior to the relocation, the court said in a news release earlier this month.

The administrative office of court approved funding for a private engineer to renovate the building in January, according to the Monroe Journal. The federal government has allocated $12 Million towards the renovation, which is expected to be completed in late fall of 2020.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is partnering with the U.S. District Court to upgrade the courthouse.

“The project will improve indoor air quality and upgrade the building’s aging infrastructure by replacing HVAC systems and controls, performing lighting upgrades and electrical systems improvements, and mitigating water and air infiltration through strengthening the building envelope,” TVA said on their website.

Several other changes are being made as a part of energy conservation projects such as “replacement of lighting fixtures with LED fixtures, replacement of electrical transformers, installation of state-of-the-art controls systems, and upgrades to original electrical system components,” the court said in its release.

The project also aims for fix water filtration issues and a new vestibule will be added to the front entrance as well.

The Thomas G. Abernethy Federal Building is home to the U.S. District Court of Northern Mississippi, which encompasses Alcorn, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Clay, Itawamba, Lee, Lowndes, Monroe, Oktibbeha, Prentiss, Tishomingo, Webster, and Winston counties.

All court proceedings originally intended for the Aberdeen building are being held at the Thad Cochran U.S. Bankruptcy Courthouse in Aberdeen and the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Oxford.

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Grace Marion is an editorial intern for Mississippi Today studying journalism and Spanish at the University of Mississippi. Grace has had bylines in PBS Newshour, the Playwickian, the Bucks County Courier Times, Howler literary magazine, Kaaterskills Basin Literary Magazine, the Write Launch, the Daily Mississippian and Women’s E-News. She was the 2019 recipient of the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation First Amendment Defense Award and a 2018 recipient of the Stamps Foundation scholarship at the University of Mississippi.