Asbestos Disrupts Courthouse Proceedings

Workers at the Terry R. Harris Judicial Complex in Colorado Springs are doing a lot of moving around this summer, thanks to the discovery of asbestos at the government building.

According to an article in the Colorado Springs Gazette, a $12 million, two-year asbestos removal project “has judges and clerks moving courtrooms, entire hallways being closed to the public and people generally scratching their heads as to where they need to go.”

“We’re doing everything we can to keep the public informed,” courthouse administrator Victoria Villalobos said. “The tough part is that everything will change again in six months.”

The article notes that about 4,000 individuals visit the complex each day and many head to the south tower to conduct their business, where abatement and other renovations have been ongoing since early June. Currently, about one-fourth of the tower is closed, the article points out.

Employees have been assured that their health is of the utmost importance. Air monitoring tests are constantly being performed and vacuums and special filters are set up in the removal areas.

“There’s no way we can get contamination with these special filters,” said Don Johnson, project supervisor from GH Phipps.

Becky Montes, El Paso County’s facilities and environmental manager, told the newspaper that air tests performed since a south tower judge reported seeing strange dust in the courtroom years ago “never exceeded” state Department of Public Health and Environment standards.

Officials at the judicial complex note that the abatement has caused a “logistical nightmare” but they are confident that the work will proceed as scheduled. They advise visitors to the complex to allow themselves extra time to navigate the changes.

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