The old Charity Hospital in New Orleans is an iconic building that has sat vacant since Hurricane Katrina.
The hospital provided affordable healthcare to people for decades. Plans to clean up the abandoned building are taking shape. Work begins on clearing it out Tuesday.
Other than cleaning out the basement immediately after Katrina, the hospital has largely been untouched over the past 11 years.
The charity building is state property, and officials with LSU Health Care Services Division said two local companies have been awarded contracts to begin clearing out two buildings on the property.
Zimmer Eschette Services II, LLC will do the work at Charity at a cost of $6.38 million. It should take 180 days to complete
A second building on the site, the Lapeyre-Miltenberger building, will be cleaned out by Insul-tech insulation Technologies Inc. over a 90-day period at a cost of $487,000. The projects and contract were approved by FEMA as part of the Katrina aftermath recovery.
The cleaning companies will remove the contents of the building, which will either be sold, salvaged, or just thrown away.
"They're not going to take out any fixed equipment. They're only taking out the desks, the chairs and the loose equipment in the building and clean it out. And what we've asked is that when they leave it, they have to leave it broom-swept," said Jerry Jones, director of facility planning.
The state has received several proposals for the site, but rejected them. Instead, they are trying to figure out what would be the best use of the building. Jones said that while no reuse plan has been determined, this step gets the building to the point that anyone interested in placing a bid on it can go in and see how it looks now.
"This gets it to the point that they can happen, because it will be cleaned out, they can see what they're getting. Right now, if they go in there, they're going to see a mess because it's been sitting there for all these years,' he said.
Jones said this project will not make the building safe for occupancy. It will take more work, like asbestos abatement and mold remediation, before that can happen.
"Understand that we're not doing any construction whatsoever. We're just taking the stuff out. Virtually nothing has been removed from Charity Hospital after Hurricane Katrina," he said.
Jones said this project will also not include full asbestos abatement, or mold remediation in the building.
"We won't be doing mold remediation as part of this project. They'll have to do some to take the mold off of the contents before they remove it from the building, but this is not a mold remediation project. It's essentially a content removal project so we can get the stuff out of the building," he said.
Photo Source: www.nola.com