Big Pine Care Center Will Fall to Demolition

If all goes according to plan, the abandoned Big Pine Care Center could be demolished in a matter of months.

Since the facility was closed eight years ago, Inyo County Supervisors and staff have looked for proposals from private companies to find some use for the former Care Center building.

At the board meeting Tuesday, the supervisors voted 5-0 to move ahead with the demolition. The board did not just decide to tear the buildings down, but they also decided to speed up the process by declaring demolition an emergency.

It was the cost of the demolition that spurred this sudden movement on a project that had been simmering for years. With the type of asbestos in the building far cheaper to remove then previously thought, the most recent demolition estimate came back at $262,000.

Couple the lower cost with the potential hazard to firefighters who may have put out a fire at the facility, the Supervisors decided to move forward with the tear down as soon as possible.

With the possibility that someone could get hurt inside the buildings, liability was another concern. County Counsel Paul Bruce told the board that the county is aware that people are entering the buildings. Efforts to secure the doors worked for a time, he explained, but now people have broken windows to get in.

Supervisor Jim Bilyeu called the Big Pine Care Center an eyesore, and pushed for demolition.

In the end, the board voted to tear down the structures. From here the county will seek a contractor to do the job. Acting Public Works Director Doug Wilson told the board that it was possible to start the demolition in three to four months.


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