News and Information

March 7, 2011

Demolition Of Old Enumclaw Hospital Protects Environment

Environmentally safe demolition of the old building that once housed Enumclaw’s community hospital is underway, with as much as 95 percent of the building’s structural material and contents destined for recycling.

The process of dismantling began on Feb. 24 and is scheduled for completion by March 30. A parking lot will be constructed on the property to serve patients, visitors and employees at nearby St. Elizabeth Hospital, which is located on the other side of Battersby Avenue from the demolition site.

"We are committed to safely removing the old hospital building so that dust and noise are held to a minimum," said Dennis Popp, president of St. Elizabeth Hospital, which opened Feb. 2. "Our goal is that less than 5 percent of the materials and contents from the old facility will end up in landfills."

Rhine Demolition Co., based in Tacoma, is in charge of dismantling and removing the aging building.

Environmentally sensitive measures during demolition include:

  • Excavator machines with jaw-like features "bite" into the building to carefully separate materials for recycling; those materials are hauled to an off-site materials recycling facility
  • Materials transported from the demolition site are placed in covered containers
  • Water is sprayed during demolition to control dust
  • Street sweeping occurs regularly.

Materials that can be recycled include asphalt, concrete, glass, light tubes, copper wiring, steel and gypsum board. Materials that cannot be recycled include asbestos and ethylene glycol, a liquid in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

Protecting the environment was a guiding principle at St. Elizabeth Hospital. It was designed and constructed to meet specific standards of the U.S. Green Building Council. As a result, the new Franciscan Health System facility could become the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified hospital in Washington. Additionally, design features at St. Elizabeth – such as large windows that allow in plenty of natural light – harness the power of nature to enhance the hospital’s setting for healing mind, body and spirit.

"The mission of the Franciscan Health System is to create healthier communities," Popp said. "We provide access to the best health services for individuals and entire communities. We also strive to be a responsible corporate citizen, so we seek ways to reduce our impacts on the physical environment through recycling and other ‘green’ strategies."

On Feb. 11 and 12, several hundred Franciscan employees and members of the general public turned out for a "garage" sale at the old hospital, where they purchased chairs, mirrors, clocks, tables, desks, plants, a flagpole and numerous other items. The event generated about $17,500 for a special fund used to purchase artwork and other amenities at St. Elizabeth Hospital.

Equipment from the old hospital’s kitchen was donated to the City of Buckley for use at the Buckley Hall community center. Additionally, three large emergency-power generators that served the former hospital were donated to the cities of Enumclaw, Buckley and Vashon Island.

The paved parking lot that will replace the old Enumclaw hospital building is scheduled for completion in June 2011 and will accommodate about 150 vehicles. An existing parking lot will also be upgraded to accommodate an additional 35 vehicles.

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