Aspen Art Museum Charged With Construction Violations as Opening Looms

Contractors have been illegally working Sundays to finish the building.

Construction in progress on the Aspen Art Museum's new building on July 15.
Construction in progress on the Aspen Art Museum's new building on July 15.
Photo: Courtesy the Aspen Art Museum.
The new Aspen Art Museum building at the cor­ner of South Spring Street and Hyman Avenue in down­town Aspen.

The new Aspen Art Museum building at the cor­ner of South Spring Street and Hyman Avenue in down­town Aspen.
Photo: Rendering cour­tesy of Shigeru Ban Architects and Shimahara Illustration.

With its August 2 opening date looming, time is running out for the Aspen Art Museum to finish construction on its new 33,000-square-foot, Shigeru Ban-designed building. Now, according to the Aspen Daily News, museum contractors have been cited by local police for violating construction rules by working on Sunday to complete the project.

This is not the only violation the museum has been cited for, as contractors have been issued five “red tags” since June 10, as well as at least nine parking tickets last week week alone. An earlier incident with a broken post-tension cable that damaged a parked car’s windshield and a neighbor’s glass door was investigated by police in March.

Following the most recent citation, museum representatives and members of the Turner Construction of Denver and Summit Construction of Basalt have been summoned to appear in Aspen Municipal Court next week. They could face up to a $2,650 fine or a year in jail.

In addition to having been observed working on Sunday, June 29, construction workers have also been cited for violations for blocking pedestrian access in the area. Nearby residents have also filed noise complaints alleging that construction has been starting before the approved 7:30 a.m. start time on as many as 45 different days, although those claims will not be pursued in court due to a lack of witnesses willing to testify.

Construction in progress on the Aspen Art Museum's new building on July 15.

Construction in progress on the Aspen Art Museum’s new building on July 15.
Photo: Courtesy the Aspen Art Museum.

Project manager Tyler Christoff, from the city’s engineering department, told the Daily News that many of the violations were a function of too many subcontractors working at once during the final push to finish the project. The building fills the entire lot, so any staging activities necessarily spill onto nearby streets, sidewalks, and alleys.

“They have a lot of personnel on the site, and a lot of subcontractors trying to work simultaneously,” Christoff said. “It’s a big job on the museum side to try and coordinate.”

“I’ve been impressed by Turner’s approach to the project,” Aspen Art Museum director Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson said in an interview with the Daily News. She believes the contractors have been “profoundly compliant” with city rules and that “everyone is trying to do the best they can.”

“I think in general people prefer construction to not occur next to where they live,” Zuckerman Jacobson added, citing “construction fatigue” with the project as a reason for the increased enforcement scrutiny and numerous complaints.

The museum plans to hold a 24-hour grand opening party for the public on August 9, and Zuckerman Jacobson encourages locals to come by and “celebrate the silence.”


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