Demolition of former Lindsay hospital begins

By Andrea Camarena

The city of Lindsay will soon say goodbye to the old Lindsay hospital.

With asbestos abatement completed at the building, the excavation and demolition of the building is slated to begin on Aug. 28 and should be completed in one month. The hospital, which has been closed since 2000, has been a fixture of Lindsay City Park. But with the construction of the wellness center, a new state of the art pool and surrounding subdivisions, the park, which has stood nearly unchanged for 60 years, will undergo a huge facelift in the coming year.

&#8220The Wellness Center is moving forward, not as quickly as we'd like but it's moving forward,” Lindsay Wellness/Recreation director Brad Albert said. &#8220There will be a dramatic change to the north side of town. It's going to look a lot different.”

The asbestos abatement of the old hospital was completed last week and the report should be finalized by today.

&#8220This final clearance will allow demolition crews to come in,” Albert said.

Bids are currently out for the demolition project. This phase of the Wellness Center's construction will include not only demolishing the hospital but will also affect the landscaping of the area east of the hospital all the way to the city's 60-year old pool.

The area of the park where soccer fields currently stand will be dug up and four feet of dirt will be taken out and transferred to the building site of the wellness center to give the fields and the center an eight-foot elevation difference. This is meant to provide extra seating and better viewing for the soccer fields. During the demolition and excavation of the area, some of the trees surrounding the fields will have to be removed and while the project moves forward, the area will be completely dirt only.

Once demolition is complete, the next phase of the project will be installing the pool. The bid for the construction of the pool will go out in the next couple of weeks according to Albert.

An engineers estimate set the budget for the swimming pool at $1.3 million and its completion date is set for May of 2007.

Construction of the Wellness Center is still a stones throw in the future but program planning is well underway. Within the next two weeks, the city of Lindsay will release the findings of a 514-subject survey and eight focus groups that were conducted in the spring of this year with a planning grant from the California Endowment.

&#8220We want to determine what YOU want,” Albert said. &#8220We want to meet the needs of the people in the community. We did a cross section of high school students to senior citizens. I think we're on the right track. Diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and mental health are big themes people want to see.”

Although demolition will not take place until the end of the month, currently, workers are removing ceiling tiles for resale and taking out reusable items such as toilets, sinks and doors from the old hospital building.

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