FLORENCE, AL (WAFF) - Since the grand opening of the new hospital in Florence, many people have wondered, ‘what will happen to the old Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital?’
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Hospital administrators say the building will be demolished and the property will be donated to the city of Florence and Lauderdale County.
ECM Hospital treated thousands of patients in the Shoals for three quarters of a century, but hospital administrators say in recent years ECM became outdated and too costly to repair. Instead the administrators built the new hospital, which cost $250 million.
“If there was something in that building that could have been used it would have been far cheaper for us to remodel it …. if that was possible but it’s not possible,” Mike Howard, the Chief Operating Officer for the North Alabama Medical Center said.
Howard says the utility bill for the old hospital was sky high. The hospital administrators had to pay $250 thousand a month.
Coupling that with the needed repairs and remodeling costs, Howard says that left the hospital with few options. The decision came down to demolishing the building. The hospital administrators took bids for the demolition.
“We have one company that has bid on the [building and materials inside,] so that will belong to them, and it will no longer belong to us. They will salvage everything that is salvageable out of that building and will either sell it or donate it to wherever it needs to go,” Howard said.
ECM Hospital will be paying for demolition, then the property will be donated to the city and county.
“When the building is torn down we are giving the city and county the property, so the decision will be up to them on what to do to the property,” Howard said.
The land is expected to be turned over by September 2019. The city and county have not decided yet what will be done with the property.