Hospital to be razed

by Timothy Fitzgibbons | 5/11/94 5:00am

Administrators are beginning to consider the specifics of tearing down most of the old Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital buildings, which stand nearly vacant on the north side of campus.

Director of Facilities Planning Gordon DeWitt said the abandoned hospital will not be demolished in a spectacular explosion, but rather will be stripped and gradually destroyed by the end of 1995 or the beginning of 1996.

About 400,000 square feet of the old hospital complex, including the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, the Faulkner building and its adjacent clinic, will be eliminated to make way for a new psychology building, greenery and parking space, DeWitt said.

Only the radiation therapy department in the two underground floors of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center is currently being used, though the hospital may move some administrative offices into the cancer center this summer, DeWitt said.

Some organizations, including the Academic Skills Department, Office of Student Life and Career Services, were temporarily located in the Norris Cotton Cancer Center while the new Collis Center was under construction.

When the radiation center moves to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in 1995 or 1996, the complex of old hospital buildings will be destroyed, DeWitt said.

A security company patrols the buildings after working hours and on weekends, Associate Director of Facilities, Operations and Management John Gratiot said.

At various times before and during demolition, possibly as soon as next winter, attempts will be made to salvage all valuable items from the hospital, DeWitt said. The items will be auctioned off, he said.

The building will be gutted from the top level down by demolition crews, which will tear down walls and remove copper and electric wires, pipes and plumbing fixtures.

The total square footage of the old hospital buildings when vacated in 1991 was roughly 600,000 square feet, DeWitt said.

Some sections of the old hospital, like the Rope Ferry buildings, have already been renovated and will be permanent additions to campus, he said. The Department of Safety and Security, Parking Operations, Facilities Planning and Architectural Services and some offices of Dick's House are located in the Rope Ferry buildings.