Demolition of circular towers begins Monday; safety is priority
The circular towers that have been Great Bend landmarks since 1964 will start coming down Monday, June 1. During the month-long process, dust will be controlled and traffic will continue to flow.
The structures were home to Central Kansas Medical Center (CKMC), which became St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center in 2011. The newer building on the campus re-opened several weeks ago as St. Rose Health Center.
Leanne Irsik, St. Rose administrator, wants local residents to know they can have complete confidence in the expertise of Nabholz Construction Services of Olathe and its subcontractor, Ark Wrecking of Tulsa.
“This is the same team that razed the Allied Services Building (ASB) several months ago,” Irsik noted. “They have proven they deserve our trust.”
ASB was the original home of the Dominican School of Nursing. The Sisters also started and operated CKMC for decades.
“It has been obvious that Nabholz stands behind its values, which coincide with St. Rose’s values and those of our co-owners, Hays Medical Center and Centura Health,” Irsik said. “These shared values include safety, integrity, service and teamwork. Nabholz employees demonstrate these values in their day-to-day work. And they are just nice people too.”
As the ASB was coming down, the construction company and its subcontractors impressed the community, Irsik commented.
“We heard many, many comments about their conscientious and caring approach to the delicate task,” Irsik commented. “Yes, they emphasized safety at every turn but they also handled the job with respect for the building and its Dominican Sisters heritage. They will do the same for the towers.”
Jeff Nelson, Nabholz project manager, mentioned that his employer and Ark Wrecking have completed 79 successful jobs together during the last nine years.
“Ark is a great company that specializes in demolition, along with many other services,” Nelson said. “They are as committed to safety on site and in the neighborhood as we are. Our crews have complete faith in one another.”
To illustrate the emphasis on safety, Nelson said Nabholz has one of the best rankings in the Experience Modification Rating (EMR) System. This entity tracks safety on job sites throughout the United States.
“We have a zero-incident philosophy for every job,” Nelson said. “It is always foremost in our minds. Our superintendent, Kenny Giese, has earned safety awards for zero incidents on his job sites for the last consecutive 31 years. And Nabholz has won numerous other safety awards. The bottom line is our safety record is no accident.”
The demolition of the towers’ interior, including asbestos removal, has been in the works for a few months. But the next and final steps will be more obvious to the community.
Dust, noise, traffic
Nelson addressed concerns people may have about dust, noise and traffic in the neighborhood during the next few weeks.
“The dust will be continually controlled with water, which is the most effective tool,” he said, noting dirt/mud will be hauled off regularly. “We have a silt fence around the site and will keep the runoff into the streets to a minimum.
“However,” he continued, “we will keep the streets clean and there shouldn’t be any traffic shut-downs. Everyone will notice an increase in trucks and equipment but, overall, traffic will not be affected.”
Even though there is always noise at a construction site, “there won’t be any loud explosions, crashes or bricks falling from four stories high,” the project manager said. “We have safety nets in place and no falling debris will be hitting the pavement. Jackhammers and other equipment will be noisy but we have gotten to know the people here and we think they will bear with us.”
Nelson also noted that the towers’ demolition does not meet the many requirements for an implosion.
The best thing the public can do is let the crews do their jobs; those who are thinking of becoming spectators are discouraged from doing so.
“This is an area with truck and equipment traffic; it is not an area for those who are not equipped with the right attire or the right training,” Nelson explained. “This will be a slow, methodical process. There won’t be one particular big-day event.”
Nabholz has hired a number of local subcontractors such as electricians, other construction companies, concrete workers and waste haulers. Its employees also have participated in local charitable events.
“We use local firms as much as we can so more money stays in your community,” Nelson said. “We want to give back as much as possible to the communities we work in.”
St. Rose specializes in primary care, prevention and wellness. Services include St. Rose Family Medicine & Urgent Care, Great Bend Internists, imaging, infusion clinic, WellnessWorks, one-day surgical procedures, Golden Belt Home Health & Hospice and a comprehensive Specialty Clinic. St. Rose is co-owned by Hays Medical Center and Centura Health.