Photographer: Scott Trotman & Video Editor: Jerry Lakso

We take you inside buildings that could soon disappear. Demolition is already underway at the abandoned former State Hospital in Fergus Falls. Phase one of the plan is removing tunnels and out buildings not considered historic.

“We came to a compromise” says Fergus Falls Mayor Ben Schrierer, because the main building will remain on the National Register of Historic Places despite the planned phase two deconstruction of part of the campus including the dining hall and gym, both areas are deteriorating quickly and vandals have found their way in. A college recently visited those buildings which could find plans for them.

400,000 square feet will remain, still probably too much for any one developer.  The city said it made a mistake in the last decade waiting for one developer to come along with $100 million to save every inch, the mayor concludes, “The taxpayers of this community cannot support this property.” The idea is to reduce the footprint of the enormous building to make it more attractive to developers.

Some want to save every brick, others want it all demolished and see it as a liability for the town of 13,000 in quiet Otter Tail County.  Friends of the Kirkbride want it saved and redeveloped, member Scott Kvamme urges “have a plan for what you’re going to do before swinging the wrecking ball.”

This story was published July 30, 2018.

    Mary Lahammer
    Anchor, Reporter, Producer covering politics, government, history, food for Twin Cities PBS since 1998.