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Courthouse asbestos removal to start in three weeks

September 02, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

An industrial hygienist and the project manager for renovations at the Washington County Courthouse Annex will meet with employees at the building today about asbestos removal that is to begin there within weeks.

The removal will begin a 15-month, $4.2 million renovation project.

Gary Pozzouli, project manager for renovations, said Wednesday that asbestos abatement on two floors of the courthouse will begin in mid-September. He said the removal of items such as fireproofing and floor tiles will take up to six weeks each for the basement and first floor of the courthouse.

Renovations to the building will include adding holding cells, enlarging existing courtrooms, building an additional courtroom and increasing space for administrative services.

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Pozzouli said several areas of the courthouse are currently not being used, which will allow the staff to move out of the areas of the removal, without ceasing daily operations.

He said it will be "business as usual," because the removal will not be done during business hours.

"We're not going to be sending people home, or anything like that," Pozzouli said.

Pozzouli said two meetings/seminars will be held this morning for Circuit Court staff members to educate them about the asbestos and what the county is doing to ensure their safety. He said the meetings would be run by Larry Jenkins, owner of Jenkins Environmental Inc., of Baltimore.

Jenkins Environmental Inc., was brought in by general subcontractor Callas Contractors of Hagerstown, to act as the industrial hygienist overseeing the asbestos removal process. The physical removal will be conducted to Power Component Systems of Harrisburg, Pa., Pozzouli said.

The annex building, which is connected to the courthouse at 95 W. Washington St., was built in 1963, It houses court offices, the Washington County Sheriff's Department's judicial offices, a courtroom and other offices.

Dennis Weaver, clerk of Circuit Court, has said the key reason for the renovation is to create space for an additional, fifth Circuit judge. Weaver has said an additional judge is needed because of the increased caseload, but will not be brought in until appropriate space is available.

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