Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Local News

June 24, 2014

Glasgow State Nursing Facility had long history

GLASGOW — Steve Emberton and his neighbor, Maxine Ricketts, watched Monday as demolition began of the building that once housed the Glasgow State Nursing Facility.

A large, bell-shaped wrecking ball whacked at the building off Lexington Drive, causing bricks and glass to tumble to the ground from the top floor.

Another piece of heavy equipment resembling giant jaws gnawed at the edifice, chewing large holes into the side of the structure that faces nearby Morningside Drive, reducing it to rubble.

“I’m anxious to see it down,” Emberton said as he watched. “It will be a better view.”

At first, Emberton thought it would take Renascent Inc. of Indianapolis, the company performing the demolition, all week to knock the building down. But he decided it might go more quickly after watching the equipment work.

Before housing the Glasgow State Nursing Facility, the building was a regional hospital for tuberculosis patients. Property for the tuberculosis hospital was sold to the state by J.C. Hutcherson in 1947, according to a property transfer on file at the Barren County Clerk’s office.

Maria Harrison’s father, Dr. U.M. Masmitja, was a physician at the hospital twice.

“He was a doctor there in 1969 and in 1970 when it was a TB hospital,” said Harrison, of Glasgow. “He was a doctor there again in 1975 through 1978 after it became ICF.”

Masmitja, who was originally from Cuba, moved his family from Florida to Kentucky to work at the hospital. Harrison was 11 years old when her family moved from Miami to Glasgow. Her younger sister, Lori James, who lives in Warren County, was 9.

“I hate that I didn’t get to go back through and see it,” Harrison said. “I didn’t know it was being torn down.”

The structure was one of several hospitals across the state dedicated to the treatment of tuberculosis patients.

In 1977, the building became the home of the Glasgow State Nursing Facility, a state-run long-term care facility for patients who are either mentally ill or have intellectual disabilities, according to information posted on the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ website.

The Glasgow State Nursing Facility now occupies a new structure on the same property.

Dr. Phillip Bale, a Glasgow physician, has served as medical director of the Glasgow State Nursing Facility for 35 years.

The razing of the building that once housed the nursing facility, he said, “is the passing of an era,” although he said he’s not sorry to see the old building come down.

“That facility, of course, was built to be a tuberculosis hospital, and when you think of the things that went on there many years ago, how little we knew back then about so many things and where medicine has come … that building represented healthcare in the 1930s and the 1940s and the new building is magnificent and capable of so many things,” he said.

The new building opened in 2013 after the old building fell into such a state of disrepair that it could no longer serve its purpose.

A decision was made to replace the old building after the state conducted a masonry project in 2004. That masonry project was followed by a structural analysis in 2006, which prompted the cabinet to ask the Kentucky General Assembly to fund the replacement of the building, according to a previous Glasgow Daily Times’ article.

Money to support the project came in two allocations. The General Assembly provided $2 million to cover the cost of designing the new facility in 2009. A year later, $18 million was allocated for construction of the new building, according to the Daily Times article.

“The people in Frankfort have indicated to me that we hopefully will be able to build a walking trail around the new facility and through the wooded areas,” Bale said. “I think that would be a great thing for this part of the town and for the residents and the workers for the state facility, so that is exciting for me.”

A time capsule supposedly exists in the old building, but Bale has been told there are no plans to open it.

“I think it would be fun to open it,” he said.

He said it is hard to believe the new building opened just under a year ago.

“It is a wonderful change of venue for those residents and the workers,” Bale said.

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