Original Valley View building being razed | AspenTimes.com

Original Valley View building being razed

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

Kelley Cox/Post IndependentDemolition of the old section of Valley View Hospital is under way, with recycling as high priority.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The ongoing demolition of the original Valley View Hospital building in Glenwood Springs is more of a finesse job than an exercise in brute force, says the lead superintendent on the project.

Gone are the days of big wrecking balls slamming into brick walls and metal window frames, with large dump trucks waiting to haul the debris off to the landfill.

“Basically, we’re dismantling the structure piece by piece,” said Charlie Rawlins of RJ Griffin Construction, who has been the general superintendent overseeing a decade’s worth of new buildings, renovations and tear-down projects at Valley View Hospital.

Currently, the original hospital building – that was built in 1955 and added onto in the early ’60s – is being torn down to make way for the new VVH Cancer Center and other hospital facilities.

As with most demolition projects these days, much of the debris is being salvaged for recycling in some way, Rawlins said.

All of the metal from the old building is being trucked to Denver for recycling, while the concrete is going to the South Canyon Landfill where it is being crushed and used as fill.

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Copper wiring and piping has also been removed for recycling. In all, about 60 percent – by weight – of the materials in the building are being recycled, according to Rawlins.

“A lot of the old wood structure will be recycled as well and used elsewhere,” he said, and much of the furniture and fixtures were donated to local churches and nonprofit agencies, or taken to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for re-sale.

The more delicate method of dismantling the building is also necessary because the old structure still intersects with the new sections of the hospital.

“So, it’s not only for salvage purposes, but safety, because the old building is sandwiched between the two new buildings,” Rawlins said.

The old building is also unique, not only for the mid-20th century construction methods, but because of the fact that it was built as a hospital building to begin with. A lot of the building systems were intricate, and required that electrical, water and special piping for medical gases be isolated before they could be cut off.

“It had also been added onto through the years, so it was pretty unique,” Rawlins said. “It’s been quite the undertaking just getting ready to take it down.”

He said the goal is to have the old building down completely by Thanksgiving, and shortly thereafter excavation will begin to make way for the new Cancer Center building. The new building is expected to be completed by late summer or early fall of 2012.

On Friday, all of the workers for RJ Griffin and subcontractors Falcon Plumbing and Encore Electric wore pink “Real Men Dig Pink” T-shirts to help raise breast cancer awareness.

jstroud@postindependent.com

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