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Repairs to the Ralph L. Carr Judicial Center expected to exceed $35 million following Jan. 2 break-in Office tower expected to remain closed until March earliest

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Repairs to the Ralph L. Carr Judicial Center expected to exceed $35 million following Jan. 2 break-in Office tower expected to remain closed until March earliest

Friday, January 12, 2024

DENVER – During the Judicial Department’s briefing to legislators today regarding the SMART Act, Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Brian D. Boatright and State Court Administrator Steven Vasconcellos provided a brief update on the damage assessment, current state of the building, and expectations regarding repairs to and reopening of the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center following a Jan. 2 break-in.

“All the information we have, we are very confident that this was a really random act and had nothing to do with the recent court cases we’ve had,” Chief Justice Boatright said. “The gentleman just picked that building.”

Vasconcellos provided the Joint Judiciary Committee with additional information, first pointing out that most importantly no one was injured during the break-in.

“No one was hurt in the incident and the Colorado State Patrol security guard who was confronted at gunpoint is healthy and well, has had some time away, and is getting full support from his team at the State Patrol.” Vasconcellos said. “We are extraordinarily grateful for our partners at the State Patrol.”

Vasconcellos explained that as a result of a fire being lit on the seventh floor of the office building, fire sprinklers ran for two hours, leaving ankle-deep water on one floor and damaging the floors below, to the basement. Other damage resulted from fire extinguishing equipment, requiring significant water and materials mitigation.

“It is a disaster recovery site and not a workplace at the current moment,” Vasconcellos said. “Our initial damage estimate is based on what we know so far. This will change, this is not based on a construction estimate…but based on the experts from risk (management), their experts from the insurance companies, the construction consultants that support the insurance companies we are looking at approximately $35 million. I imagine, as with most construction projects, that will change.”

Smoke was distributed through the entire building through the HVAC system, and industrial hygienists are assessing potential impacts. Some levels of damage occurred from the basement to the 7th floor, with the 5th, 6th and 7th floors having to be substantially rebuilt from scratch, all of which will take time and resources.

Vasconcellos added that once a substantial industrial hygienic cleaning had been completed on the least damaged floors they would be occupiable by the beginning of March. The floors that will require rebuilding will take up to a year. He also noted that Judicial does not plan to ask for any supplemental funding from the General Assembly.

When asked if there was any known damage to records that would impact any cases, Vasconcellos said it was too early to tell and until the drying process is complete, which could be up to three weeks, it won’t be known. He did note that no Court records or records related to the Office of the State Court Administrator were compromised.

The courthouse side of the Carr Center will reopen to the public via the 2 E. 14th Avenue entrance at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024. All visitors will be asked to sign an entrance registry. Oral arguments will be heard by the Colorado Supreme Court and Court of Appeals during the week of Jan. 16 as docketed.

An announcement regarding the reopening of the office tower will follow as the date nears. Meantime, the 1300 Broadway entrance to the courthouse remains closed.

As a criminal case pertaining to the break-in and resulting damage is pending, no other information is available at this time.