WALSENBURG- With a sound like “an explosion going off,” part of the sandstone wall on the northeast side of the courthouse tower spalled off on Friday, hitting the roof with a roar, then falling and shattering on the ground below.
After the initial shock wore off, courthouse employees were left wondering just how safe was this 107-year old building built on a sandstone foundation?
Judge Claude Appel, after some quick consultations, decided to err on the side of caution, and ordered that jury duty slated for Monday morning be transferred to Trinidad.
By Monday, structural engineers were on site to examine the building and evaluate its soundness. Again, erring on the side of caution, it was decided that court and probation operations would be halted indefinately.
Closer examination of the northeast wall on the third floor revealed that the wall has shifted outwards almost and inch from wall heaters that were flush against them a year ago.
Staff who use the office report that the building vibrates hugely every time a heavy freight train passes by, just yards to the north. At times, computers sitting on top of desks are literally bouncing up and down.
Officials from the state Judicial Department and Office of Risk Management are expected to release an evaluation of the building’s soundness later this week. People with concerns should call 738-1040 for further information.
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