By Louie Graves
Howard County will open bids Sept. 27 for companies or persons that would demolish the oldest parts of the former Howard Memorial Hospital located on W. Leslie St., Nashville.
The building has been vacant since mid-2009 when hospital employees physically moved records and equipment to the new campus. The new Howard Memorial Hospital west of town was formally dedicated later that year.
County Judge Kevin Smith has wrestled with removal of the old building for several years, and says that grants will enable the building to finally be taken down.
The newest of the facility’s expansions will be saved and repurposed. Judge Smith said that some space would be perfect for use as storage of county records, and some space could be designated as a disaster backup for the county courthouse as required by law.
He also said that the Howard County District Court might also be relocated to the facility. The county continues to rent out space in nearby buildings for physician offices.
The old hospital was constructed in 1949 and was originally named Howard County Memorial Hospital in honor of veterans of WWII. Other additions were constructed in 1962, 1972 and 1989. The hospital’s name was changed to Howard Memorial Hospital, a change which enabled enactment of a sales tax to support the 1989 renovation.
Judge Smith recently informed the Howard County Quorum Court that asbestos abatement work had been completed. He said that the open side of the saved building could be inexpensively covered with metal.
The concrete and bricks from the building will be dumped into a large hole to be dug on the sloping east side of the old building. “That way we will not have to pay for dumping the debris in the landfill,” the judge said. He said soil covering the bricks would be two to three feet thick.
He said that the asphalt parking lot on the Leslie Street side of the building would have to be taken up and disposed of.
He said that because of its petroleum base the asphalt could not go into the landfill. It might be used as an ingredient for hotmix paving.
Grants for demolition of the building will mostly come from environmental agencies, and from General Improvement Funds previously contributed through State Sen. Larry Teague and former State Rep. Nate Steel.