The walls are about to come tumbling down. The former Milbank Hospital will be demolished. According to Greg Grajczyk, board member of the Northeast... Hospital to be Torn Down

The walls are about to come tumbling down. The former Milbank Hospital will be demolished.

According to Greg Grajczyk, board member of the Northeast South Dakota Healthcare Foundation, “We (the foundation) attempted to market the building to find a buyer – someone who would put the building to constructive use. Nobody is interested in a 50-year-old building and putting that kind of money into it, even though it’s a sound structure. So, rather than let it sit there to rot until there might be interest, we are going to bring the building down to the ground.”

Grajczyk says the board also explored possibilities with the Department of Health. “But, you are looking at six to seven figures to make that happen.”
“We are mindful the hospital is a community-owned facility. We want to make sure our decisions are to the benefit of the community,” he says. “And we are going to do the things necessary to bring the area back to natural ground. If we can find a use that will benefit the community overall, we are going to do that.”

Jim Gesswein, Chairman of the Board of the Northeast South Dakota Healthcare Foundation stated “One of the first questions asked after making the decision to build a new healthcare campus was how best can the existing building be repurposed. The Foundation Board reached out to the community in an effort to sell the property for repurposing. With all ideas being financially unfeasible and therefore no interested buyers the Board made the decision to demolish the building. This will make the property available for other interests.”

Preparation work began inside the building this week. “A company is in there right now doing asbestos abatement,” Grajczyk says. “There were a couple small areas of asbestos with pipe wrap and things like that to be taken out first. As soon as that process is complete, J&J Earthworks of Milbank will use their big equipment to begin taking the building down.”

Grajczyk says, “J&J thinks it will take a couple of weeks to take the building down and another week to haul everything away. Initially, they planned to grind the concrete on-site, but have decided it would make more sense to move the concrete to the city landfill and grind it there. J&J will come back in the spring after the ground has thawed to level the ground, add dirt, and seed it back to grass.”

The land itself has generated more interest. “The city discussed with us possible grants to develop multi-family housing,” Grajczyk says. “It’s about 4.5 acres in the middle of town, so it seems like it would be ideally suited.”

The former clinic building is also empty. According to Grajczyk, three or four people expressed interest in the property for a child-based project. Most interior walls in the clinic are non-load bearing and could be removed. “The building would definitely lend itself to childcare if someone wants to invest in that,” he says. “ Another individual showed interest in turning it into a senior living facility, which would take some remodeling, but would work. Whoever comes along and wants to put the building to constructive use, we would be happy to talk with them.”

Staff Writer

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