County commissioners vote to demolish old hospital buildings

Abby Cavenaugh

April 2, 2014

For nearly nine months, the Anson County Board of Commissioners has been trying to work out a way to save two old early 20th-century buildings located on the Anson Community Hospital site. However, all efforts have been exhausted, according to County Manager Lawrence Gatewood, and the two buildings — along with the current Anson Community Hospital building — will be demolished later this year, at the expense of Carolinas HealthCare System.

The buildings will be demolished once the new hospital on U.S. 74 in Wadesboro, called Carolinas HealthCare System — Anson, is finished this summer.

The commissioners originally voted 3-1 in August, with Board Chair Anna Baucom opposed, to demolish the two buildings at the request of Gatewood. At that August meeting of the county commissioners, Gatewood said he and his team have performed thorough evaluations of the buildings in question, and found that only the doctor's buildings were structurally sound enough for renovations.

“I would like, if we can find somebody to take those buildings and find them structurally sound, to sell them, rather than tear them down,” Baucom said in August.

At Baucom's request, Gatewood and County Attorney Scott Forbes came up with several options, which were presented at the commissioners' October meeting. Commission Chair Anna Baucom said last month she had been approached by someone who wished to purchase the buildings and renovate them. Forbes gave the county three options — a sealed bid process, a notice/negotiated offer or a public auction. The commissioners would have the option to refuse any bid with the first option, and with the second option, an upset bid would be allowed. That means that if a commissioner had negotiated an offer on the property, a request for bids could be published in the newspaper and a time frame of 10 days would be allowed for another potential buyer to come up with an upset bid. With the second option, Forbes said, the county could set its own terms for the sale of the building. If the commissioners decided on the public auction option, it would require a set time, day and place for an auction to take place.

In December, Gatewood proposed that the property be declared surplus and sold through a sealed bids process, with a minimum bid of $294,030, the county's assessed value of the property. At that time, Gatewood said if there were no suitable bids, the buildings would be demolished at the expense of Carolinas HealthCare System.

Since there were no suitable bids, the commissioners had no choice but to approve the demolition of the two old buildings, which was approved 5-1 at the commissioners' meeting April 1. Baucom again voted against the measure, while Commissioner Harold Smith was not in attendance.

The commissioners also agreed to allow Anson Family Medicine, which is Dr. Victoria Rommel's practice, to continue conducting business as usual at its present location, 510 Morven Road, until other suitable accommodations are determined or until Oct. 1, 2014, whichever is earlier.

“In addition,” Gatewood said, “the board would prefer that Carolinas HealthCare System deal directly with Dr. Rommel on this item and there would be no monetary benefit or loss to the county resulting from the consideration to Dr. Rommel.”