Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Asbestos complicates Arizona court move

As part of the Maricopa County Superior Court reorganization in Arizona, criminal judges, prosecutors, and some staff members from Mesa are moving to Phoenix in December. Due to a lack of office space, some of the staff members, including half of the County Attorney’s Office, have to be left behind. As if splitting up the staff weren’t complicated enough, the Phoenix court complex also has asbestos problems. Because of this, the move won’t likely be completed until next August.
The west court building in Phoenix will be undergoing renovations to remove asbestos from the second, third and fourth floors. The half million dollar project started at the end of November. After the asbestos has been removed, remodeling of the building will cost another $2.2 million.
This asbestos removal project will be done carefully to ensure that federal environmental regulations are followed. The county Air Quality Board fined the Facilities Management Department, RFC Holdings Inc. and Jokaka Construction Services for asbestos violations during the renovations of the east court building in October. The violations stemmed from an incident where workers pulled up some carpeting that was glued to the tile floor with asbestos-containing adhesive. The project was shut down immediately and Environmental Services was called.
When the court move arrangements take effect on December 1, the courts will be run more efficiently and the county will save money on inmate transportation costs.

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