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Denver to install temporary fix at courthouse to protect public from shattering glass

Goal is to re-open main entrance in next 10 days
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Posted at 10:45 PM, Oct 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-27 18:40:55-04

DENVER -- It's been five weeks since two glass panels shattered on the upper floors of the Denver Justice Center, showering the lobby below with bits of glass, but engineers still don't know what caused the glass to break.

“We called architects to look at each and every pane of glass, just to insure that it was installed correctly,” said city spokeswoman Jenna Espinoza. ”They were able to determine that all the glass is up to building code.”

Espinoza said the panels “shattered in place” and then fell.

When asked if it’s possible that somebody kicked and weakened the two panels or whether the stairs are settling, Espinoza replied, “That’s speculation. We don’t know what the cause was.”

Because of concern that more panels could break, the city shut down the main entrance, roped off the stairs and walled off the main lobby with plastic sheeting.

One of the metal detectors was moved to a side door, which is not normally used as an entrance.

Every day for more than a month, people waiting to enter the building have lined up outside as they wait to go through security.  With decent weather, the ordeal has been manageable.

Espinoza said the goal is to re-open the main entrance before cold weather moves in.

To do that, engineers have suggested a temporary fix, installing protective scaffolding in the lobby.

As people enter the building and go through security, they will be under that scaffolding.

Espinoza said it’ll be similar to a downtown construction site, where scaffolding is setup over the sidewalk, so people can continue to walk from one end of the block to the other.

Still, some people are leery about using the main entrance.

“I have a court date coming up,” one man told Denver7. “I don’t want to be under that thing.”

When asked about a permanent fix, Espinoza said, “That may entail replacing all the glass or it may entail putting some laminate finish on the glass which will keep it in place, if it shatters.”

When asked how much the permanent fix will cost and who will pay for it, since the building is only six years old, Espinoza replied, “That’s what we’re trying to determine right now.”

Each glass panel has the PRL stamp on the bottom.

A spokeswoman for PRL declined to comment, saying they could only talk to the person who ordered the glass.

The Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse, which cost $136-million to construct, opened in 2010.

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