Cumberland Times-News

Local News

June 25, 2014

Hospital demolition delayed

Asbestos finds at Memorial site could push work into next year

CUMBERLAND — With ongoing discoveries of asbestos at the former Memorial Hospital complex, the timeline for completion of the demolition and landscaping work may be extended to the spring of 2015.

The new timeline and the progress being made at the demolition site will be the subject of a public meeting to be held Monday at 7 p.m. at the Fort Hill High School auditorium. Hazardous materials removal is expected to force changes in the initial time frame given at a public meeting on the topic held in October.

“We want to update everyone on what is happening. Everything is moving along well.

“But the asbestos removal has caused delays,” said John DiFonzo, city engineer.

Officials hoped that work at the site, including the final grading, landscaping and grass seeding, would be done by autumn.

“I think the demolition work will be done by the end of the year. But the final grading and seeding will probably occur in the spring,” said DiFonzo.

It was announced in February that an additional $400,000 would be billed on the project after significant amounts of asbestos and other hazardous materials were discovered at the site.

Ritter and Paratore Contracting of Utica, N.Y., is performing the demolition work while CCAPS Contracting of Port Deposit is doing the hazardous materials removal.

The $400,000 change order for additional asbestos removal raised the total cost of the project from $1.7 million to $2.1 million.

“They are dealing with asbestos that is buried under layers from renovations from some time ago. It’s an old building,” said DiFonzo.

Construction on Memorial Hospital began in 1928 and the hospital opened in the summer of 1929. Since it opened, the hospital has been renovated numerous times with several additions to the original main hospital structure.

Among the hazardous materials found in the 260,000-square-foot former hospital complex were excessive levels of multilayer asbestos, masting, hazardous insulation and glue deposits, 21 doors containing asbestos and 20,000 square feet of spray-on fireproofing.

“I believe they are still making additional discoveries of asbestos at the site,” said DiFonzo.

DiFonzo said residents in the hospital neighborhood or anyone interested in the project are urged to attend Monday’s meeting.

Greg Larry can be contacted at

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