Tower bricks available; costs to save building prohibitive
St. Rose Health Center has been getting many requests for bricks that could serve as mementos of the 51-year-old circular towers that are currently being razed.
The free bricks are now available at the corner of Polk and Forest, on the old parking lot just outside the construction fence.
“People who want a keepsake of the structure are welcome to stop by at their convenience,” said Mark Mingenback, St. Rose corporate health consultant. “We all understand the emotional aspect of this demolition and the desire for a memento.
“We know how difficult this is for our community,” he continued. “But we did a lot of research before the decision was made that the towers had to come down.”
That research included working with architects and engineers representing three companies that were not related to one another in any way.
“After CKMC became St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center in 2011, there was an excessive amount of empty space, especially on the three upper floors and basement,” Mingenback said. “The St. Rose leadership and Centura Health reviewed local needs to determine what the space could be used for.
“We identified low-income senior housing as the biggest need and talked to three developers about it over a three-year period,” he continued. “After these experts considered the building’s configuration and its age, the significant issues included heating and air-conditioning.”
The antiquated boiler would have to go, and a new system would mean each apartment would need its own meter for residents’ comfort.
“The replacement costs would have been prohibitive – to say the least,” Mingenback explained. “Each of the three developers independently arrived at the same conclusion. It simply wasn’t financially feasible.
“Emotionally, there was a huge desire to save the building but emotion couldn’t be a factor,” he added. “It wouldn’t have been a prudent use of resources. The developers all said if the towers were razed, they would consult with anyone who wants to build a new structure.”
Other considerations were assisted living and a nursing home, Mingenback said, noting those needs are being well served here now.
“There was also the concept of retail and/or office space, but the same thing happened,” he said. “There is no need in town for additional square footage for these purposes either.”
Discussions for the possible use of the land will be ongoing with Hays Medical Center and Centura Health, co-owners of the new St. Rose.
In the meantime, the area will be landscaped.
Mingenback also noted that St. Rose donated many of the old structure’s assets to several local non-profit entities. Donations included cabinets, plumbing fixtures, ceiling tiles, doors, light fixtures and shelves.
“We hope these assets will continue to serve the community in many ways for years to come,” Mingenback said.
Despite the changes, there are many reasons to be excited about St. Rose’s future, Mingenback emphasized.
“With our focus on today and the years to come, these changes allow St. Rose to offer a long list of services,” he said. “We are zeroing in on outpatient services, health management and wellness education.
“The new St. Rose facility is modern and efficient,” he continued. “Its reduced operating costs allow St. Rose to use our resources more wisely by improving technology and investing in additional medical providers to benefit our community.”
St. Rose specializes in primary care, prevention and wellness. Services include St. Rose Family Medicine, Convenient Care Walk-in Clinic, 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.