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VA: Northport buildings among those to be razed or re-purposed

The Northport VA Medical Center, shown Wednesday, April

The Northport VA Medical Center, shown Wednesday, April 12, 2017, needs $279 Million in capital spending on the huge campus, which dates to the 1920's. This is the main hospital. Photo Credit: Chuck Fadely

The Department of Veterans Affairs plans over the next 24 months to either tear down or renovate 430 vacant or mostly vacant buildings across the country — including four on Long Island — said Dr. David Shulkin, secretary of the federal agency.

The decision would affect the VA’s main Long Island facility in Northport, where four buildings stand vacant and are considered beyond repair. Three of the buildings, including the original hospital, were built in 1927. The fourth was built in 1931.

“We owe it to the American taxpayer to apply as much of our funding as possible to helping veterans,” Shulkin said in a statement. “Maintaining vacant buildings, including close to 100 from the Revolutionary War and Civil War, makes no sense and we’re working as quickly as possible to get them out of our inventory.”

Abandoned buildings at Northport are considered a costly eyesore. Two of the vacant buildings stand across from the facility’s main hospital and occupy space that Northport officials say could provide much-needed parking areas.

The buildings are surrounded by hazard fencing because of the risk of falling debris.

Engineers there have estimated the cost of razing the two buildings alone at $10 million, according to Northport VA spokesman Todd Goodman. The VA statement did not address the fate of any specific building, so the ultimate fate of the other two, smaller buildings at Northport was not immediately apparent.

In April, the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs expressed concern that aging facilities at the VA’s Northport campus would require $279 million in repairs, and that the cost of maintaining abandoned buildings adds to the expense of providing care for the facility’s more than 30,000 patients.

The decision to raze vacant VA health facilities would also affect three buildings at the VA campus in St. Albans, Queens. Those buildings were erected in 1948.

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