Third floor of federal building in Bangor reopens after testing

Posted March 07, 2011, at 7:03 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The third floor of the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building reopened for business Monday after being closed Friday for asbestos testing.

“Numerous independent professional tests have now confirmed that air quality in occupied court offices remained safe during construction. All suspected surface asbestos that was previously indicated has been professionally contained, cleaned and disposed of,” a statement posted Monday on the U.S. District Court’s website said.

Federal court, U.S. Bankruptcy Court and the Office of U.S. Probation and Pre-trial Services were shut down Friday. All other offices — including those of the U.S. attorney on the first floor and of the Social Security Administration and U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins on the second floor — remained open.

Most court business was rescheduled, but the first appearance of two Canadians arrested last week at the Calais border crossing was moved Friday to U.S. District Court in Portland.

The federal building is undergoing a $53 million renovation funded with stimulus money. Plans include the installation of a new heating and cooling system, the replacement of windows, asbestos abatement and the renovation of the first-floor area where the Bangor post office was located for many years.

The cost of construction, which began in September, is estimated at $33.88 million, with the remaining money going toward design services, according to the General Services Administration.

Construction for the entire project is expected to be completed in  about three years, Paula M. Santangelo, public affairs officer for the GSA’s regional office in Boston, said last year.

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