Pitkin County to begin move into new $24.8 million building next week | AspenTimes.com

Pitkin County to begin move into new $24.8 million building next week

For the first time in at least a half century — or ever — Pitkin County's core services will be housed under one roof when the county unveils its new and improved $24.8 million building on Main Street on Monday in Aspen.

County employees aren't certain if there was ever a time when all of its departments operated out of the same building, but if there was, it would have been more than 50 years ago, said Rich Englehart, the county's chief operations officer, Friday afternoon during a tour of the new facility.

"It's really going to be great for us, or most of us, to be in the same place," Pitkin County spokeswoman Pat Bingham said.

The centralized location benefits the county staff because departments can collaborate more efficiently, while the public has easier access to county services, Bingham said. By Thursday, the county administration, finance, human resources, IT, sheriff, assessor and treasurer's should be fully operational at the headquarter building, Bingham said.

The clerk and recorder, motor vehicles and election offices, which have been scattered between the Ute City Building and the basement of the Vectra Bank building since Oct. 1, 2016, also will occupy the new county facility.

These departments will start moving July 27 and should be up and running in the 47,000-square-foot building by July 30, Bingham said.

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Other offices, such as administration, finance and human resources, have more recently operated in the building that houses Stubbies Bar and other businesses in Basalt. The sheriff, assessor and treasurer's departments have been based in the county courthouse next door "for as long as anyone can remember," Bingham said.

The courthouse will now solely house court functions, she said, while the nonprofit Mountain Family Health is slated to take over the Basalt building.

Sandwiched between the historic courthouse and the brand new police station, the new county building is a remodeled version of the 17,000-square-foot former county facility plus a 30,000-square-foot addition.

The new building is a direct product of what county officials heard from the public, Pitkin County manager Jon Peacock said on the tour.

Peacock said the county started to engage the community on the process and solicit input sometime during the beginning half of 2014.

"The entryway experience was really important to the public," Peacock said, noting the area's "campus-like feel."

Another major takeaway from residents was to not build an over-the-top "Taj Mahal" style structure, he quipped.

Preserving and enhancing the Veterans Park also was a priority in renovating and constructing the new county building.

"It became really clear to us in our conversations with the veterans that this space is really important to them," Peacock said.

The county allowed the veterans to design the park, which the county built and funded at $670,000.

A ribbon cutting for the building will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Aug. 7.

"This is really a community achievement," Peacock said. "We're hoping people will come out and celebrate what is a community amenity."

erobbie@aspentimes.com