Jackhammer symphony hits sour note with cops
September 5, 2008
ASPEN ” The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office will be essentially closed Friday, and the Aspen Police Department may do the same, in response to the deafening noise of jackhammers just outside the basement entrance to the Pitkin County Courthouse at the corner of Galena and Main streets.
Sheriff Bob Braudis gave some office workers time off Wednesday when the county’s building maintenance department began tearing up the stairs leading to the basement from the Galena Street side of the courthouse building.
“We were losing our minds,” said Patrol Director Tom Grady, referring to the noise coming from just outside the door.
The jackhammers fell silent Thursday, but will resume work on the stairs Friday, according to Jerry Morris, project manager for the county. He said the jackhammering should be finished Friday, although the project will not be complete until some time next week.
A sign on the door of the sheriff’s office announces the closure and instructs those who need assistance to call the county dispatcher at 920-5310.
The office is expected to reopen Monday.
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Police Chief Richard Pryor said his office might close down as well, depending on how his employees are affected by the noise.
Morris said the stairs are being torn up so that a new warm-water piping system to melt accumulating snow can be installed. The old system, which he said likely had been in place since the two law enforcement agencies moved into the building in the 1980s, failed in December. The replacement project cost is approximately $30,000, he said.
“It’s a safety issue for the officers in the winter,” he said, explaining that because the stairs are essentially shaded all winter, the snow does not melt.
Morris’ crews also have been removing floor tiles from the district courtroom on the courthouse’s third floor because they contain asbestos, although Morris said the asbestos is “not a risk or a hazard” to the public.
Still, the maintenance department has placed small monitors around the building to measure air quality and see if any asbestos migrated out of the “containment area” where the tiles were removed.
Morris said the monitors are “kind of a safety precaution. We aren’t required to do it, but we wanted to in order to be sure we have a safe work environment in the building.” He said no asbestos has been detected outside of the courtroom.
The courtroom will reopen for business next week after new carpet is installed, Morris said. That project is costing the county $31,000.