Premature Pasture?

The County Facilities Committee meets tonight, and one of the main topics of discussion will be the future of the old county nursing home:

A reuse study by Isaksen Glerum Wachter dated Jan. 31 details the extensive work required to mothball the facility.

An earlier report from the same consultants valued the building and property at $1.9 million. If the building were removed, the report said, the 13 acres of land might sell for $18,000 an acre, or $234,000 less expenses.

Another option would be to demolish the original structure but retain the 1971 addition, its 32,000 square feet providing enough room for county clerk, coroner and Children’s Advocacy Center, as well as future needs.

Other options include demolishing all the buildings and rebuilding a smaller space for the three agencies or keeping all the structures except the boiler building and garage.

Something that dismays me a little in modern society is how we often discard older structures. We’re often told that ‘it’s cheaper to build new,’ and while that may be the case in certain instances, it still seems frustrating that we don’t do more with our old buildings. I would really like to see the old county nursing home put to good use, providing it’s economically feasible to do so. Hopefully this will be given due consideration at Facilities. The committee meets tonight, first at 6:30pm to tour the old nursing home, and then at 7:00pm in its dining room.

3 Comments so far

  1. curious, on 3/6/07 at 9:26pm said:

    You have a point. In fact, this is being discussed at the same time the county is building a new highway vehicle building, including extra meeting space and offices. I know you can’t park large trucks in the old nursing home, but perhaps it could have been reused to save money on the fleet building?

    Remodeling/updating is not always that easy and can be expensive, but it should be explored whenever possible. Not only as an immediate cash saving measure, but also in terms of the potential environmental benefits of reuse.

  2. Matthew Gladney, on 3/7/07 at 3:48pm said:

    You make some good points, curious.

    I think something that should be looked at is the cost of remodeling/updating the old nursing home (which may or may not require mothballing it for a period of time), and the cost/benefit analysis of having various county departments that need room to grow utilizing the space.

    If the cost/benefit will be lower for the county to remodel and re-use the old nursing home space, as opposed to eventually having to build new space for growth, then I would think serious consideration should be given to remodel and reuse.

    Renting out portions of the old nursing home space to other organizations might well be another option, but once again, the cost/benefit analysis of remodeling and receipt of a solvent rent income would have to be looked at.

    If, in the end, reuse doesn’t appear to be a viable option, then we’ll have to demolish the old structure. I’d just like to weigh all other options first before making such a decision.

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