By LOHR McKINSTRY
---- — TICONDEROGA — The crumbling old Moses-Ludington Hospital building is so far gone it must be torn down instead of renovated for a new housing project.
Demolition of the old two-story brick hospital began Tuesday and is expected to continue for several days.
The $7 million project from Liberty Housing of Rome, N.Y., is called Moses Circle Senior Apartments and will include 31 affordable-housing units for senior citizens.
Originally, the old hospital would have been torn down, but the brick facade would remain and be incorporated into the project.
Now the façade will simply be recreated for the building, Liberty Affordable Housing Deputy Executive Director Davis Yohe said.
“Unfortunately, everything must come down. We are working to maintain the look and character of the original Moses-Ludington Hospital.”
PRIDE of Ticonderoga Executive Director Sharon Reynolds, whose non-profit group is assisting the project, said an inspection of the old brick building showed it was too deteriorated to use any part of.
“The whole thing is coming down. It was a dangerous situation. It was a safety issue for the contractors.”
The hospital was built in 1908 by community benefactor Horace Moses and closed in 1981, when the new hospital opened nearby. It had been owned by Inter-Lakes Health, with a for-sale sign on it for decades and no takers until now.
Inter-Lakes Health owns the new Moses-Ludington Hospital, Heritage Commons nursing home, Moses-Ludington Adult Home, Inter-Lakes Dental Clinic and Lord Howe Estates, a 40-unit U.S. Housing and Urban Development senior-housing property.
Reynolds said Liberty Housing officials realize the old hospital has significance to Ticonderoga’s history.
“They will stay true to the façade. There’s so much advantage to building it new.”
Work on demolition will begin soon, Yohe said.
“The goal is to raze the old hospital in the coming days and place footings for the new construction before inclement weather sets in. Work would then continue throughout the winter, with completion at the end of 2013, as we originally planned.”
Workers were on-site and going through the cavernous old hospital when they determined it was completely unsalvageable, Yohe said in an email.
“During the process of interior demolition and abatement, structural issues were uncovered beyond what was originally anticipated. A thorough inspection performed by a structural engineer revealed extensive deterioration, and it was determined that the building is structurally unsound.”
New York State Homes and Community Renewal is responsible for funding and oversight of the project, and Yohe said that agency supports Liberty’s decision to change to new construction.
“The only safe and feasible way for the project to continue is to raze the entire building and construct a new building in its footprint. Understanding that the three-story landmark is a proud symbol of Ticonderoga’s history, Liberty has instructed the project architect to prepare new architectural plans that will maintain the character and look of the old hospital.”
Liberty officials said that renting of the new apartments is expected to start in early 2014.
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