Pitkin jail facelift to begin Monday

Jason Auslander
The Aspen Times

Pitkin County Jail deputies transfered inmates to the Garfield County Jail last week in preparation for a limited renovation project set to begin today, officials said Thursday.

The last of the inmates were taken to the Garfield County Jail in Glenwood Springs on Saturday afternoon, jail administrator Don Bird said. The jail’s inmate population stood at 15 before the transfers, not including those inmates on work release who only spend nights in the facility, he said. The $300,000 project is set to bring the jail into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, install fire sprinklers in each cell and replace old plumbing, according to Bird and Pitkin County Facilities Manager Jodi Smith. In addition, plans call for new carpeting, new floor tiles, new paint and a general deep cleaning, they said.

“We’re going to clean all the furniture, too,” Bird said. “Those wooden beds have been in those cells for 32 years. We’ll be deep cleaning everything in there.

“That’s never been done before.”

Bird said he’s glad to have the chance to take care of all the maintenance at once.

“Wear and tear on buildings that run 24/7 is much more significant than buildings that are only open 40 hours a week,” he said.

The project is set to take about a month, Smith and Bird said.

“We’re hoping it will be done by the first weekend in July,” Bird said.

The jail will remain open to book people who are arrested and to house people enrolled in the work-release program, he said. But beyond that, inmates will be housed in Garfield County and driven back to Aspen for court hearings or other appointments, Bird said.

Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario has offered to house Pitkin County inmates for free, which will save Pitkin County thousands of dollars, Bird has said. In return, several Pitkin County deputies, who attended an orientation in Glenwood last week, will work shifts at the Garfield County Jail, he said.

The Pitkin County Jail was built in 1984.