Southwestern Vermont Health Care embraces 'green demolition'

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Southwestern Vermont Health Care embraces 'green demolition'

Tue, 11/16/2021 - 6:55am -- tim
Novel methods limit environmental impact and preserve history.

cid:image005.jpg@01D7D788.FE000FE0A member of the Deconstruction Works crew carries lumber to stack for reuse outside the Lodge building on the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center campus in Bennington.

Vermont Business Magazine Loads of insulation, doors, lighting fixtures, pressure treated lumber, wooden beams, and an antique cast iron sink are among the items being harvested for reuse from The Lodge, a building on the Bennington campus of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC). The building is slated for demolition next week to make way for a $28 million renovation and expansion to SVMC’s Emergency Department.

The salvage work was done by Deconstruction Works, a demolition, salvage and recycling service based in Vermont. The business has offices in Brattleboro and Bristol and is co-owned by Erich Kruger and Tom Shea. The company lists items for sale on its Facebook page and on other online sites.

Pushing much of the construction waste to reuse, rather than the landfill, helps the health system meet the state’s requirements for managing solid waste, as detailed in the Act 250 permit. It also helps mitigate the emotional impact of losing a piece of the health system’s history.

“This building has served an important purpose for almost 100 years,” said Ron Zimmerman, the health system’s director of engineering. “That so much of its materials will be reused and that items of historical significance will find new homes is gratifying.” 

James (Buzz) Surwilo, an environmental analyst with the Waste Management and Prevention Division of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources’ Department of Environmental Conservation, was involved in developing the plan for managing the construction and demolition waste in accordance with the state’s guidelines. He encourages companies to recycle, salvage, and think about how they can avoid creating unnecessary construction waste.

“We came up with a pretty unique, progressive, forward-thinking plan with the Lodge,” Surwilo said. “Kudos to the hospital for minimizing the environmental and cultural impacts and making a good faith effort to keep things out of the landfill.”

This antique cast iron sink was listed and sold on Facebook.

Insulation taken from the attic can be used in another construction project.

The Lodge was built in 1925. It had 22 rooms for its original purpose of housing laundry and housekeeping employees. Most recently, it had been used as offices for SVHC’s Finance Department.

The construction project will nearly double the size of the current Emergency Department, which was designed to accommodate 14,000 patient visits a year but currently sees nearly 25,000 annually. The changes will further enhance patient safety, infection prevention, and patient privacy. Vertical treatment areas will allow for highly efficient treatment of low-acuity conditions. The project also includes an expansion to the Emergency Crisis Area for those experiencing mental health distress and increased telehealth connectivity with Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

Outside the Emergency Department, the project includes renovations of the Main Entrance and café, outpatient registration area, the Imaging Department waiting area, and the phlebotomy and laboratory upgrades. An enclosed walkway will connect the Emergency Department to SVMC ExpressCare.

Temporary parking changes are in effect to make way for site preparation work. The first row of parking in the S2 lot has been predesignated for patient use. See the map at for details. Regular updates on the project will appear in SVHC’s weekly e-newsletter, on social media, and on the health system’s website,

About SVHC:

Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) is a comprehensive, preeminent, health care system providing exceptional, convenient, and affordable care to the communities of Bennington and Windham Counties of Vermont, eastern Rensselaer and Washington Counties of New York, and northern Berkshire County in Massachusetts. SVHC includes Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center, the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation, and the SVHC Foundation. SVMC includes 25 primary and specialty care practices.

Southwestern Vermont Health Care is among the most lauded small rural health systems in the nation. It is the recipient of the American Hospital Association’s 2020 Rural Hospital Leadership Award. SVMC ranked fourth nationwide for the value of care it provides by the Lown Institute Hospital Index and is a five-time recipient of the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence. It has also received the highest marks possible from the Leapfrog Group. 

Source: BENNINGTON, VT—November 12, 2021—Southwestern Vermont Medical Center