Lourdes Hall scheduled for decommission at Avera St. Luke’s

Published: Mar. 2, 2021 at 6:28 PM CST
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A building that for over 80 years has been a staple in Aberdeen and for Avera St. Luke’s Campus will be decommissioned in the coming weeks as the campus continues to expand.

Lourdes Hall has had a long and storied history on the campus of St. Luke’s, having been there since it was purchased at the end of the Great Depression.

“The Sisters acquired it in 1940. And they moved it by a horse-powered about eight to 10 blocks,” said Avera Regional President and St. Luke’s CEO Todd Forkel.

It’s served as a mental health clinic, housing, and most recently as a daycare center. It was condemned in 2009 and will be demolished along with the arched walkway over 3rd Avenue Southeast and the former Northeastern Mental Health buildings. All three structures currently sit empty.

But Forkel said the legacy of Lourdes Hall will still have a place on St. Luke’s Campus, with a new park planned just west of the hospital that will include items saved from the buildings.

“We’re going to rename it, Lourdes Park, in honor of that, and the cross will represent that legacy there,” Forkel said.

Plans are also being made to reuse building materials from the walkway to fill in the wall on the north side of the hospital and shaped it into a cross as another reminder of the structures.

Forkel said the demolition is necessary to start a new effort to expand and modernize St. Luke’s campus, and better prepare to serve the region in the future. But he said the building and the purpose it served on campus will always be a part of its history.

“There will be changes on the campus. But we will honor the legacy, and then also use it as a launching point to grow and meet the needs of the day.” Forkel said.

Demolition of the former Northeastern Mental Health buildings is scheduled to begin on March 8th. Demolition of the arched walkway over 3rd Avenue Southeast is likely to begin on March 22nd, pending weather and the City of Aberdeen’s plans to do street work on 3rd Avenue Southeast. Lourdes Hall will be demolished once the demolition on the walkway is completed.

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