Steps taken to raze old Jeannette hospital

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Excela Health officials have begun the paperwork needed to demolish the former Jeannette District Memorial Hospital and hope to start to tear it down next month.

The Greensburg-based health system expects the cost of the project, which includes first removing asbestos and other hazardous materials, to be close to $3 million, according to Robin Jennings, marketing and communications spokeswoman.

“You won’t see a lot of external work at first,” she said. “But, we hope to have the site cleared before the year is out.”

The landmark buff-brick hospital sprawls along five blocks on Jefferson Street in a leafy residential neighborhood called Seneca Heights. Ms. Jennings said nearby residents are aware of Excela’s plans but will formally be notified of potential dangers closer to the time when the building will be torn down.

The removal of asbestos at the site is not expected to pose any danger, she said. 

Excela purchased the hospital in 2008 and closed it three years later when it moved all of its operations to the Excela Health site in North Huntingdon.

Jeannette hospital opened in 1959 and, at one time, had 148 beds and employed more than 200.

Excela announced plans to demolish the site earlier this year after it was unsuccessful in finding a buyer. Numerous inquiries were made about the site, but many of the potential buyers found it would be too costly to renovate the former hospital building.

The health system will continue to operate a medical office building behind the hospital that contains physician offices, a blood-testing center and a health center for Excela workers. An adjacent four-story parking garage will not be torn down.

Excela plans to sell the site after it is cleared.

Linda Metz, freelance writer:


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