First of 5 buildings demolished at Illinois Veterans’ Home
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Demolition began Tuesday on the Rowland Barracks at the Illinois Veterans’ home, the first of multiple buildings crews plan to bring down in the coming year as the state starts to pave the way for the future of this campus.
“As long as I’ve been here, a lot longer,” said Illinois Veterans’ Home resident Richard Jones spent the morning watching a demolition that he said they were talking about before he even got here almost two decades ago, “ohh.. 19 and a half years, something like that”
This is all part of the state’s plan to rid the campus of Legionella bacteria. 14 people have died and dozens more sickened in connection with a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the home.
“This is a building that’s over a hundred years old, and has fallen into disrepair over the previous decades,” said Michael Hoffman, Senior Adviser to Governor Bruce Rauner, “we’re taking it down in order to clear a footprint for a brand new facility here at the Illinois Veterans’ home in Quincy […] the big thing here is that we’re showing progress, we’re moving forward with taking care of our veterans not only today but tomorrow and for generations to come.”
Veterans’ Home resident Antonio Pabalan got a chance to see the work during breakfast– “Frankly speaking I didn’t think they would begin before the next year even though they’re ready now, they’re doing things,” said Pablan, “It makes me feel a little better.”
Hoffman said the Rowland Barracks’ sister building, known as the Fog Barracks is planned to be renovated to conserve the design of the barracks. An open house at Lippincott Hall is planned for this Thursday where the public can get a first look at the master plan for the campus. Hoffman also said 3 to 4 other buildings will be demolished in the coming year. A ceremony planned for this Friday will announce the new name for the former Sycamore Healthcare building that’s being remodeled to house Veterans’ Home residents while the new facility is built. Final designs for the new facility are expected in the spring.