The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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June 4, 2012

VIDEO: St. John's demolition continues one floor at a time

Manager says projected Sept. 30 finish date is on target

JOPLIN, Mo. — When Dan O’Connor first saw what the tornado did to the exterior of St. John’s Regional Medical Center, he thought there was a possibility it could be restored.

Then he went inside.

“There was no way they could make it back the way it was,” he said. “The damage inside was unbelievable.”

Then, he thought it would take more than a year to bring it down.

“We started on March 1,” he said. “We’ll have it done on Sept. 30. We are on target to meet that deadline. The weather is no problem. We like it when it rains because it helps keep the dust down.”

O’Connor is the project manager on the demolition project for Northstar Management, of St. Louis. It is the largest demolition project on which O’Connor has worked for Northstar.

But it is more than a demolition job. It could well be the single largest recycling project in the history of Joplin.

O’Connor estimates that 40 percent of the former medical center will be recycled. What’s not recycled will go to the Prairie View Landfill near Lamar and to the landfill operated by the city of Galena, Kan.

“We’ll even recycle the concrete as fill to prepare this site for the new school and the other projects that are planned here,” he said. “There is no need for this stuff to be taking up space in a landfill.”

Some of the concrete will be used by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to plug abandoned mine shafts and cave-ins that are being reclaimed in the region by the department, O’Connor said. Even the asphalt parking lots will be lifted and recycled.

The metal in the medical center is being sorted for recycling. O’Connor estimates the copper alone will be worth $1.5 million. Other metals that are being recycled include aluminum, structural steel, red iron and cast-iron pipe. A security team monitors the site around the clock.

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