Wednesday, May 25, 2016

FDR 4 Freedoms Park Conservancy Hires Structural Engineers And Historic Preservation Experts To Study Stability Of Roosevelt Island's Abandoned Smallpox Hospital - On Site This Week

Yesterday, a tipster reported seeing work being performed at Roosevelt Island's abandoned Smallpox Hospital

in Southpoint Park

I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Acting President Susan Rosenthal:
There appears to be some work being done on the Smallpox Hospital today by Building Restoration Contractors Association.

What type of work is going on?

Is there a Smallpox Hospital restoration project starting?

Ms. Rosenthal replied:
We have not started any project. FFP has commissioned a study and have various third parties testing, etc. the structure.
FFP is the FDR Four Freedoms Park.

I followed up asking Ms. Rosenthal and Four Freedoms Park Conservancy (FFP) President Sally Minard:
Why is Four Freedoms Park conducting a study of the Smallpox Hospital in Southpoint Park which is RIOC property?

Why was there not a RFP seeking bidders to conduct the study?

Sally, what is the purpose of the Four Freedoms Park Smallpox Hospital study?
FFP's Stephen Martin has the answer:
The Conservancy is in the middle of a structural study of the Ruin. Funding comes through a grant we received in 2012 from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.

Several of the interior walls of the building were damaged during Super Storm Sandy. The State (as is the Conservancy) is very concerned for its stability. We’ve all seen it age significantly in just the past few years. As its neighbor, anything we can do to advocate for its longstanding, we will! (The timing is also nice, the result of this study should coincide with RIOC's Southpoint Park community planning study. Knowing how stable the structure is should be of great assistance to both RIOC and the community.)

This study will produce a round of engineering drawings, as well as soil profiles, floodplain review, etc. The team you may have seen on site are structural engineers and historic preservation experts. Their boom will be here until Friday.

In terms of the RFP, it was published a year ago and was widely publicized: The scope is very clear. Selection (which was decided by a team of preservation experts, RIOC, and others) went to a terrific firm known as Walter B. Melvin Architects. They have extensive experience working on Renwick structures. They recently stabilized the failing steeple of Renwick’s Grace Church.
Mr Martin shares these pictures adding:
The articulated boom allows structural and historic preservation team to look closely at upper floors and building core

and photograph the building core with Cornell Tech and 59th Street bridge in the distance.

RIOC Acting President Susan Rosenthal commented:
Stephen, thanks for the background and details. RIOC looks forward to the findings ( we passionately want to preserve the ruins) and it is great that the timing coincides with the proposal of the facilitator.
More information on the Southpoint Park Open Space Community Facilitator referred to by Ms. Rosenthal available at this previous post.

Check out this excellent history of the Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital.

Here's a gorgeous view from a drone flying over the Smallpox Hospital, FDR Park and Roosevelt Island East River waterfront.

Click on the full screen icon for better view.