The Pitkin County government building at 530 E. Main Street, also known as the Courthouse Plaza, will be closed today and Wednesday for air testing in an area with asbestos, recently discovered while plans were being made for an upcoming remodeling job.
The building, to be closed to employees and the public, is near the Pitkin County Courthouse. The two structures are separated by a courtyard containing a memorial to war veterans. The courthouse itself is not affected.
“It is not uncommon to find asbestos in materials used in older buildings,” said Jodi Smith, county facilities manager, in a statement released late Monday evening. “It’s not considered dangerous unless it’s disturbed. That’s why we always do these inspections prior to any major construction project.”
The building houses the Clerk and Recorder’s office, housing authority offices, the Board of County Commissioners’ meeting room and other government departments. The closure is a precaution to protect employees and the public while air testing is underway.
Asbestos was found to be present in certain Courthouse Plaza building materials during tests conducted last week, the news release said.
Grand River Environmental, a certified professional air monitoring company, will conduct the testing.
“We have undertaken several small construction projects inside the building in the past six months,” County Manager Jon Peacock said in a prepared statement. “They’ve mostly consisted of minor office remodels, and the like. Now that we’ve learned that there is asbestos in the building, we want to make sure that none of it is airborne.
“We will be sure that any risks to health from asbestos are identified, and if necessary mitigated, before we ask our public and employees to resume business in the Courthouse Plaza,” Peacock added.
The test results will be evaluated to determine whether air quality in the building is safe, the release said.
The Board of County Commissioners planned to meet today at 1 p.m. The meeting now will be held at a different location, which will be revealed on the website www.aspenpitkin.com today, the news release said.