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'Old' Renville County Hospital coming down

Tom Cherveny / Tribune Dave Rettman with DRC of Litchfield is at the controls as the old Renville County Hospital and Clinic is razed Tuesday in Olivia. The 55,000-square-foot structure will be removed and the site made an open lot for development by summer's end. Virtually all of the materials from the old building are being recycled, Rettman said.

OLIVIA — Work is underway to raze the former Renville County Hospital and Clinic in Olivia.

DRC of Litchfield will remove the 55,000-square-foot complex of buildings and convert the site to an open, grass-covered area by Aug. 31, Nathan Blad, hospital CEO, told the Renville County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.

Demolition work started last week and is proceeding as expected, according to Dave Rettman with DRC. Work was halted temporarily until asbestos that was unexpectedly discovered in a wall could be safely removed.

Virtually all of the structure will be recycled, Rettman said. The concrete and masonry is being crushed at a nearby site and will be sold for use in everything from roads and driveways to new buildings. All of the steel and metal is also being separated for reuse.

The City of Olivia expects the site in the heart of the community to be reused as well, almost certainly for residential use. City Administrator Dan Coughlin said a developer has expressed interest in the site for a possible patio/townhouse project.

The developer believes it would meet a demand in the community for housing for persons ages 50 and older. Its location next to Fairview Place, an independent living facility, offers opportunities for both, he said.

A housing study is currently underway to determine the needs in the community, Coughlin said.

The property is currently owned by Renville County. As part of an agreement in which the city developed infrastructure for the new hospital, the county will deed the site to the Olivia Economic Development Authority for $1 once the site is cleared.

The original hospital was built at the site in 1951, and additions were built in subsequent years.

The RC Hospital and Clinics opened its new, $25 million facility on the east end of Olivia in September 2015.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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