LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - An old hospital on Lee Boulevard that hasn't been in use for nearly 30 years is being torn down next week. The former Southwestern Hospital was a gift to the Kiowa, Comanche and Apache Intertribal Land-Use Committee back in 1991. Since then, it's been a battle to put it to use. But the story of the old hospital is finally coming to an end.
"That right there we tightened that down probably about four months ago," Marc Dubray, KCA Maintenance said about a hole in a chain link fence. "Every time we come out here we find something different."
Dubray is making one of his last checks of the old Southwestern Hospital.
"Some of these boards have been up here for a while. A long time," Dubray said.
Dubray said keeping the building secure so that no one gets in and gets hurts was the main objective for him and his crew. But next week they won't have to check on the building because demolition will be underway.
"That's the light right there. Of it coming down, and it's not going to be hazardous," Executive Director of the KCA Intertribal Land-Use Committee.
Kliencole said the building's recent history begins with the removal of asbestos in 2009, and then the building being put on the dilapidated list five years later.
"City of Lawton came to us a couple of months ago with the proposal and the committee listened and they agreed," Kliencole said. "And it was just something that came about that we were very, very blessed that we can take care of this property. Because this property is just not safe."
Lawton's Administrative Services Director Anthony Griffith was the one who brought forth this plan on behalf of the city.
"Finally, we came about a partnership," Griffith said.
That partnership was a signed agreement between the city and the committee to have the committee pay a contractor $115,000 for the demo, and the city will take the rubble and put it to use in elevating flood plains. That plan was signed back in May.
Griffith said there have been discussions back and forth for years on what to do with the building.
"It may seem like a long time to a lot of folks, but it's worth it," Griffith said.
And the building's caretaker Dubray agrees.
"A good sigh of relief," Dubray said.
According to the city, work will begin on tearing down this building either next Wednesday or Thursday.
Kliencole, along with the committee, said they don't know exactly what they are going to do with this land once the building is gone, but the discussions on those plans will start once all the land is cleared.