Medical arts building to stay in place



January 6, 2016 - 12:00 AM

Allen County commissioners will learn soon what needs to be done for the medical arts building, long an adjunct to the old Allen County Hospital, to remain in place when G&W Foods opens a grocery on the site.
Dan Ware, a local contractor, pointed out a tunnel entering the building’s basement area must be maintained to provide an emergency exit. He will meet with state fire marshal officers to determine how that will be accomplished. Most likely, an above-ground entrance, inside a concrete cubicle, will be constructed as  the exit and entrance point to the tunnel.
County Counselor Alan Weber said the county intended to keep the medical arts building, even if a new one were constructed near Allen County Regional Hospital on North Kentucky Street. The building is in good condition, he said, and can be used for other health-related activities, including hospice and home health.
As for the old hospital, now less than a wisp of its original structure, demolition should be completed today or Thursday, Weber said. Next step will be to acquire dirt and hire someone to haul and compact it in the basement area, which is now “a hole as large as an Olympic-sized swimming pool.”
Weber said he was unsure when engineers for G&W would be in Iola to coordinate final preparation of the site for the new grocery, but soon enough to monitor compaction of crushed rock and soil in the basement to ensure it would support a new building.
In additional to the grocery, Iola Industries is working to attract developers of apartment complexes on the old hospital property. Iola council members are yet to decide how they want to deal with what promises to be increased traffic in the area.

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