Possible asbestos problem at Ed Center building


Staff Writer

While currently still slated to close on the purchase of the Archuleta County Education Center building on Dec. 31, Archuleta County is working to complete additional due diligence work after asbestos was discovered in the building.

Archuleta County is currently working to purchase the building, located at 398 Lewis St., to house the county’s administrative offices.

Following an executive session held the morning of Nov. 15, the Board of County Commissioners voted to ask Realtor Jann Pitcher for an extension for the deadline to object to inspection of the building in order to complete additional due diligence in environmental testing.

That additional work, according to Todd Starr, county attorney and co-interim county administrator, will be to gain further information on the risk of the asbestos found, including what kind it is and what further work would be required for mitigation.

According to the listing with Jann C. Pitcher Real Estate, the building is 3,880 square feet, with a kitchen and two half baths. The original part of the building was built in 1964, with an addition built in 2003.

A preliminary plan completed by Durango architecture firm Reynolds and Associates to remodel the building for county use estimated that renovation work would total around $300,000, though the assessment accompanying that estimate made it clear that the estimate was very preliminary.

Archuleta County entered into a sales contract with the board of directors of the Ed Center to purchase the building in early October, at the same time leasing it to temporarily house a courtroom and probation office while the portion of the courthouse roof above a courtroom and probation offices was repaired.

Those lease payments will go toward the purchase price of the building — $200,000.

In October, former county administrator Jesse Smith explained that the building will be purchased using 1A facilities funding, as well as $66,000 in impact fees owed to the county by the Town of Pagosa Springs that must be used for capital purchases.