Pitkin County seeks help with remodel of Courthouse Plaza | AspenTimes.com

Pitkin County seeks help with remodel of Courthouse Plaza

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – The Pitkin County government is seeking proposals from architectural firms for help with a plan to remodel its Courthouse Plaza building, a project that also could involve a sizeable addition to the existing structure.

The deadline for design firms to submit a proposal is March 13, according to the general-information document provided to potential consultants. The document says that the winning bidder would provide “site planning, architectural and design services” for the 17,800-square-foot building, a three-story structure with a basement that houses many of the county’s administrative departments.

The Courthouse Plaza is located at 530 E. Main St., just a stone’s throw east of the Pitkin County Courthouse. It also houses a meeting room for county commissioners and the Aspen/Pitkin County Housing Authority office.

“The Plaza redesign will reflect timeless energy-efficient design, connectedness to the community and cost-consciousness,” the document says. It adds that the selected firm will include planning “the footprint and scaling” for a new 18,000-square-foot addition on the north side of the existing building.

Selection of a consultant is expected this month. Concept plans and costs will be presented to Pitkin County commissioners in September, the document says.

Jack Wheeler, county facilities project manager, said the chosen firm would be part of a design team “to help us reprogram and renovate” the building.

“We are looking at footprint and scaling for a possible addition behind the Courthouse Plaza on county land,” he said. “This is long-term planning for future needs.”

He said the design team would determine the best use for the current building’s spaces as well as the feasibility of a new addition.

“I would expect a lot of the administrative offices that are currently in the building would remain in the building,” Wheeler said. “There could be some new uses. That’s what we’ll look to the design team for.”

He described the Courthouse Plaza as an aging structure that is not fully compliant with federal regulations, such as the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Jodi Smith, the county’s facilities manager, said the project would address improvements to workplace efficiency.

“Are there opportunities to collaborate and bring other functions in? Who knows? But that’s what the design team will help us do,” Smith said.

She added that the county is looking at all of its buildings with a long-term eye toward improving efficiency.

“We have a court system, in the courthouse, that is literally bursting at the seams,” Smith said. “They need more space, and how do we give them more space? So it’s a bigger picture, not just the Courthouse Plaza. We are looking at all of our operations.”

She stressed that a possible addition to the plaza would be part of a long-range plan, not something that would come about quickly.

Wheeler said he doesn’t have an estimated range as to how much the consultant would be paid for the scope of services related to the Courthouse Plaza planning effort.

“You can call me back on March 14,” he said, referring to the day after the bid deadline.


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