Pitkin County Courthouse’s $5 million renovation starts this week on 140-year-old building
A nearly $5 million renovation of the 140-year-old Pitkin County Courthouse is set to begin Wednesday, a county official said.
And while the 11-month project will impact Pitkin County District Court and County Court, as well as the operations of the probation department and the District Attorney’s Office, those agencies will continue to operate as usual during the construction period, said Jodi Smith, Pitkin County’s facilities director.
“We’re fully prepared to work with the court’s schedule,” she said, noting that the noisiest work will be done after hours or on weekends. “Our goal is to minimize the impacts on the courts.”
The renovation of the courthouse — built in 1880 — was spurred by last summer’s mass exodus of county employees and the city police department, which moved out of longtime courthouse office space and into new buildings next door on Main Street.
Now that it is empty of public offices for the assessor, treasurer and sheriff, the courthouse is set to become a modern courthouse focused on employee safety and public security.
Gone will be the three public entrances to the building. The only public entry will be a security station at the main entrance guarded by Pitkin County sheriff’s deputies. That southside door also will gain a new entrance for the disabled.
The Pitkin County Court Clerk’s Office will move from the second floor to the first floor, while the probation department and DA’s Office will move from the basement to newly renovated first-floor office suites. A third courtroom and a jury deliberation room will be added to the basement.
Finally, on the third floor, judges’ chambers will be remodeled to better separate them from the public areas of the courthouse. A fire escape stairway also will be added to the third floor on the building’s north side.
The construction will be done in two five-and-a-half-month phases, Smith said. The first will concentrate on the first floor and basement levels and is scheduled to last until about January. At that point, crews will focus on the second floor and the basement, she said.
The main entrance will remain open to the public throughout construction, as will the northside ADA-entrance and elevator, Smith said.
In addition, county officials have decided to polish the building’s original hardwood floors in the entrance and first-floor and second-floor hallways, though it will feature a carpet runner down the middle, she said.
Editor’s note: A Pitkin County commissioners meeting Tuesday, Jodi Smith said the start will be delayed a few days awaiting final permits from the city of Aspen.
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