Solandt Memorial Hospital building picks up $30,000 for restoration effort
Hayden — The original wood floors inside the historic Solandt Memorial Hospital building in Hayden shine with a luster that can only be fully appreciated by the people who’ve worked so hard to restore the nearly century-old structure.
Contractor Tyke Pierce, who has donated as much as $17,000 in labor to the restoration project, spent countless hours ripping off layers of tar, linoleum and carpet that had been installed over the original hardwood.
“That was very labor intensive,” said Kathy Reck, accountant for the Solandt Memorial Hospital District, a board of volunteers that has spent the past 10 years ensuring the building that served as Hayden’s first hospital would not fall into disrepair.
Last week, the group celebrated a milestone with the receipt of its fourth State Historical Fund grant — this time for $30,000 — to finish upstairs lighting, windows and hardware renovations.
Built as a tribute to community doctor John Vernon Solandt, who died in 1916, the Solandt Memorial Hospital operated continuously from 1923 to 1970, when it closed for lack of a doctor.
It reopened a few years later as leased medical office spaces, a use that continues to today. Also housed in the historic hospital are a dental practice, psychologist office and legal services.
“It’s so important to this community,” said Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, who attended a ceremony at the hospital Tuesday.
Mitsch Bush, who has followed the progress of the hospital restoration for several years, said that, without an option for healthcare services in Hayden, many residents would have to travel to Craig or Steamboat Springs or perhaps go without care.
Also in attendance Tuesday was Colorado State Sen. Randy Baumgardner, who said the project’s success was a tribute to the hard work of the Hayden community.
“That Solandt Memorial Hospital continues to serve surrounding communities is a tribute not just to the excellent administrators and staff who operate the facility today, but to the determined community leaders of the past, who simply refused to let this historic wonder and landmark fade away,” Baumgardner said in a news release following the ceremony. “This new grant from History Colorado just reaffirms the vision and foresight they had.”
Overall, more than $700,000 in grants, donations and in-kind support has helped with a historic structure assessment, structural repairs, accessibility compliance and exterior and interior restoration.
In addition to $224,000 in four grants from the State Historical Fund, project leaders have also received significant grants from the Babson-Carpenter Foundation, The Gates Family Foundation and the Routt County Museum and Heritage Fund Advisory Board.
The ongoing work paid off in 2011, when the building was accepted into the National Register of Historic Places and the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties for its contribution to the heritage of Colorado.
“It took everybody working very hard,” said Kathy Hockin, president of the hospital district board.
Work associated with the latest grant is expected to begin this fall and, when complete, will be the final renovations to the structure.
“It’s exciting, because the building itself will be complete,” Hockin said.
The group still plans to pursue future funding to do outdoor landscaping and grading work at the hospital site.
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