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Visible progress being made at old St John's Hospital and new Mercy facility

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Visible progress now on both the old Saint John's Hospital and new Mercy facility.

The job of clean up at the old hospital at 26th and McClelland is one that is meticulous and a little time consuming.  That time, workers say, is a great experience.

Big machine operators claw and pick their way through the debris pushed out of the eight story structure that once housed St. John's Hospital.

John Farnen is the Executive Director of Planning, Design and Construction for Mercy.  He says the rest of the medical building will be demolished by the end of next week.

"They have a large claw that will kind of grab at it and start to kind of take it apart and bring it down and load it up," Farnen says.

"They're able to, once they bring down a section of the building, pull out those separate pieces, whether it's aluminum, copper, red steel or even light gauge steel," says Project Manager Dan O'Connor.

O'Connor says most of the debris is recycled, including the concrete.  That material will be reused in mined land developments to fill those holes.

"I would say June or July it should be pretty well down and by August we should just be doing the foundations and the grading and getting ready to really restore the site," Farnen says.

While that process is being worked on, there is also progress on the new Mercy site on the southeast corner of Interstate 44 and Main Street.

Crews are working with large augers to remove the dirt and rocks.  In those holes, will be piers that plunge below the earth anywhere from eight to 60 feet.

"The big difference here on this new site is the site we found has no mines or anything under it, so the piers here actually are more of the traditional type piers you'll find on most of the facilities," Farnen says.

While soft rock was discovered more than 200 piers will be in place to make sure the building is sturdy.

Even though the new facility is still in the early stages, O'Connor says both sites have caught the eye and minds of many people.

"With the one year anniversary coming up, the buzz it's created, and just people that went through that event and hearing their stories and how they're reacting to again the old versus the new," O'Connor says.

The new Mercy Hospital is set to open in early 2015.

Once cleared, the old St. John's location will be used for a new school.  Farnen says demolition there is approximately 65% complete.

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