CHESTER — A poorly built medical center has been closed temporarily so workers can jack it up to stop it from sinking diagonally into the ground.
The Chester-Horicon Health Center of Hudson Headwaters Health Network is closing Monday, with Hudson Headwaters saying only that there was “unforeseen building construction.”
But the health center has been sinking for years. Visitors first noticed in 2012 that the sidewalks were shifting. The building, which is owned by the town and leased by Hudson Headwaters, was built in 2004.
It “appears” that the original builders made some mistake in site work, Chester Supervisor Craig Leggett said.
Loose soils are not supporting the building, one half of which is sinking.
“Over the years you could see, inside the building, windows were more of a trapezoid,” Leggett said. “It’s an unexpected expected. We could see it coming.”
At first they hoped the whole building would just settle, perhaps two inches lower than intended.
“But it’s settled seven inches in one corner,” Leggett said.
This spring, officials hoped that they could just jack up that corner, put in compacted fill, and lower it down again.
“We realized, once the contractors were in there, it was a much bigger problem than we expected,” he said.
Workers checked the level of the building all along its exterior. That’s when they learned that half the building was sinking.
So workers put together a new plan, while the health center remained open.
“They got everything set to lift it again, but they still could not do it,” Leggett said. “They need to close the entrance to get enough jacks in there to lift it.”
Adirondack Basement is handling the work.
They plan to target the front of the building, a porch-like area at the entrance.
“We’re actually going to take out the concrete there and lift up the footings,” said Sales Manager Robert Ramsey.
To do it, they will drive six steel poles into the ground until they hit solid enough surface. Then they’ll attach the jacks to those poles and the building. Once everything is secure, they will use hydraulic lifts to raise the jacks.
“The prep work takes days, but the actual lifting takes hours,” Ramsey said.
They will hold the building in the air while they build up a solid base of fill. They will also remove the sidewalks and repour them.
It is expected to take two weeks. The health center is projected to reopen on Oct. 29.
The town is paying for the work, which is budgeted at $70,000. The Town Board decided to use savings for the work, which was not included in this year’s budget. The board has been trying to build up its savings in recent years and has about $400,000, Leggett said.
He was disappointed to have to use so much of it all at once, but he took heart from the fact that the town won’t have to borrow the money.
“We are solving the problem,” he said.
Hudson Headwaters is moving its doctors to the Warrensburg Health Center, which is 11 miles away at 3767 Main St. in Warrensburg. All patients with appointments have been told to go there. Patients with questions should call Warrensburg at 518-623-2844.
The Oct. 20 flu clinic at the Chester-Horicon Health Center has been cancelled, but the center will offer another one from 4 to 6 p.m. Nov. 12.
Patients could also go to the flu clinic at the Warrensburg Health Center, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 27. Flu clinics have been scheduled at every Hudson Headwaters clinic, and the full list is online at https://www.hhhn.org/news/2018-flu-shot-clinics-scheduled/.