LETTER: A Lesson in Courthouse Renovation

I read with interest Bill Hudson’s four-part reporting of the Courthouse “smell”. Though I live in Florida, I own property in Archuleta County, so spending $27 million is relevant to me as a property tax-payer. This ‘complaint’ by the Chief Judge sounds familiar.

In 1988 we had a similar judicial ‘complaint’ regarding a courthouse/government center here in Brevard County, Florida (home of the Kennedy Space Center). The chief judge at the time concluded there was asbestos in the building, and when testing showed ‘evidence’ of it, he ordered the building closed.

Asbestos contamination is far more serious than the potential for either CO poisoning (which is transient), or a bad smell. However, rather than demolishing/building anew, the County Commission had the contaminated building ‘gutted’ by a hazmat company to remove the asbestos. It was/is a six-story building, many times the size of the Archuleta facility. The total cost of the rehab was less than $2 million, took about two years, and the building has been safely in use since.

Even accounting for inflation, that is a lot less than $27 million for a new facility.

Gary Beatty
Sharpes, FL

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