When walls are five feet thick, they don't tumble down easily

The walls may come tumbling down this week, but the ones made of concrete five feet thick will take a little longer.

Knocking down three dated medical buildings in Carson City is pretty much a routine job for Mike Richardson, president of demolition contractor Facilities Management Inc. except for the building with concrete walls more than five feet thick.

Richardson today will begin demolishing the Ross, Waters and Gilbert medical buildings located at Carson Tahoe Specialty Medical Campus on North Mountain Street.

The buildings, each about 38,000 square feet, were constructed in 1976 and were no longer needed once Carson Tahoe Regional Healthcare relocated to its new campus on the north end of town, says Jon Tyler, marketing specialist with the hospital.

The Waters building was renovated in the early 1990s to house a radiology practice, and part of the renovation included building 5.5-foot-thick concrete walls and a 3-foot-thick concrete floor and ceiling, Richardson says.

That's about 340 tons of concrete rubble that's expected to fill 38 tractor-trailer trucks. Facilities Management Inc. will use a backhoe with a pneumatic hammer and a large excavator to batter the building to pieces. An on-site crusher will break the large concrete chunks into rubble so that FMI can recycle all the steel and rebar in the building.

"We try to recycle everything we can," Richardson says.

The Gilbert building also poses some challenges for the demo crew. Richardson says an 8-inch water main encircles the building, and chances are very high that construction crews will inadvertently break the main while demolishing the building's footings.

"I wouldn't even say it is 90-10 odds we break that water line. We are definitely planning on it, and the Carson City utility department will be on site when we start demolishing the Gilbert building because of that fact."

Demolition on all three structures is expected to take 45 days to complete. There are no plans to develop the lots once they are empty, Tyler says, but the area will be cordoned off to reduce the liability concerns.

The Carson City and Eastfork fire departments had been using the empty buildings for rescue and evacuation training.


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