Asbestos clean-up costly for Pitkin County |

Asbestos clean-up costly for Pitkin County

Michael McLaughlin
The Aspen Times

Last week’s closure of the Pitkin County Courthouse Plaza cost the county nearly $70,000 in testing and cleaning to remove traces of asbestos before reopening the building on Monday.

The abatement total came to $69,964, which covered environmental testing, cleaning service for the entire building, permitting, new carpets and removal of asbestos in three areas of the plaza.

“It’s important to realize while we did find some traces of asbestos in the building, we didn’t find any airborne samples,” said County Manager Jon Peacock. “We authorized the cleanup and abatement work as emergency procurement. We have several facility projects that have been impacted by this.”

Jodi Smith, the county’s facilities project manager, said there are two more parts to the courthouse plaza upgrades that can move forward now that the asbestos situation has been addressed.

Smith said there are additional costs on the horizon for renovations to accommodate more staff in the building and to upgrade the human resources area that will remain closed for at least another month. The human resources department will continue to operate out of the Schultz Health and Human Services building until the proposed upgrades are completed.

Up next will be more renovations to add functional space for several new county employees and interns for both human resources and the open space departments.

Smith said several walls have to be removed and replaced with new lights, drywall, ceiling repairs and electrical work. New office furniture and data outlets also will be added to accommodate the new employees. The total cost for the additional workspaces will be an estimated $52,144.

The human resources renovations include removing several walls and replace the current space with modular office furniture to create four new offices, a meeting room and an area for a receptionist. Those upgrades should cost an estimated $39,495.

Peacock said the asbestos found last week was mostly in drywall spackle and structural beams, with none found in the carpets. He also said the money to pay for the courthouse plaza abatement this past week likely will come from the county’s general fund surplus.

According to Smith, the human resources renovations, especially the abatement of the walls around the human resources department, will again involve the Ecos Environmental and Disaster Restoration Co. Ecos said they could accomplish the renovations in two days and would be willing to do it on a weekend to not interrupt county services. No firm date has been set for the additional renovations.