SVMC's 'Green' Razing of Lodge Building Makes Way for New ER
BENNINGTON, Vt. — Southwestern Vermont Medical Center has begun the slow process of a "green demolition" of its Lodge building.
The building, which SVMC is demolishing to make way for its $28 million Kendall Emergency Department, was built in 1925 and initially acted as laundry and housekeeping facilities. In recent years, the Lodge has served primarily as an office building.
"This really is the culmination of probably the better part of 10 years of planning," said SMVC President and CEO Thomas Dee.
Rather than demolishing the Lodge and disposing of the materials, SMVC is doing a "green demolition," meaning it plans to reuse most of the materials while also rehousing items of significance. Because of this, the demolition process will happen over several days.
"It's more of a gentle implosion as opposed to an explosion," said Ron Zimmerman, director of engineering at SVMC. "And we've worked with the state of Vermont on a management plan so that over 90 percent of the materials that are in the building are being reused."
The Kendall Emergency Department project is part of SVMC's $40 million Vision 2020 plan, which seeks to modernize all of the facilities on the campus. SVMC expects the construction of the Kendall Emergency Department to take three years.
"We're just very appreciative of the community support we had," Dee said. "Vision 2020 can't happen without the support of an entire region of people. We care for over 75,000 people in our region, so it's critical. It's heartening to have this happen. And we're looking forward to the next few years to get this project done."
Zimmerman said the demolition of the Lodge and the creation of the Kendall Emergency Department represents a new era for the SVMC.
"I think, certainly, this building has served us a vital purpose for many years," he said. "And in order for us to take the step forward for the future growth of the hospital, to serve the community. As a sacrifice. This building will help pave the way, no pun intended, for us to make that step forward."
Dee said that tearing down the Lodge after it served the hospital for nearly a century is bittersweet.
"I think there is a lot of mixed feelings, let's be honest," he said. "This is part of our legacy. It's part of our history. It's circa Henry Putnam, Jr, who was the founder of our hospital. So you don't do these things lightly, but I think the whole idea of the transformation into the future, and this is our future, has people very excited."
The demolition of the Lodge was streamed live on SVMC's Facebook page.
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