Winchester House, the former Lake County nursing home that has been a prominent part of the landscape along Milwaukee Avenue in Libertyville for nearly 80 years, is about to collapse.
The Lake County Board is expected to approve a $ 2.75 million contract with Chicago-based McDonagh Demolition Inc. on Tuesday to demolish the buildings and restore the grounds on the northwest corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Winchester Road.
If approved, McDonagh would receive a notification by the end of the day to continue work, which was expected to begin shortly thereafter.
The contract provides for the demolition of the main building and the ancillary buildings, the removal of asbestos, the removal of the underground infrastructure and the classification and replanting of the site. The work must essentially be completed within four months.
The district board last year approved the removal of Winchester House as part of a 2021 project list. The main complex consists of two buildings: the first was built in the 1940s and a taller second building was added in 1974.
Most of the people in the area remember these buildings. But the legacy dates back to 1847 when Lake County opened a poor farm that grew into a long-term, 24-hour skilled care facility.
The district got out of the nursing home business due to declining usage, declining income and a significant deficit.
In July 2020, the remaining residents of Winchester House were relocated to Thrive of Lake County, a state-licensed facility being built to replace a former golf driving range on Route 45 near Route 83 in Mundelein.
Lake County found that it was too expensive to reuse or repurpose Winchester House and its removal was eagerly awaited. The county board’s finance and administration committee on Thursday recommended approval of the McDonagh contract.
“Are members interested in doing the first sledgehammer swing?” asked Carl Kirar, the district director of facilities and construction.
“I think you could be interested in more than 21 people,” replied committee chairman Paul Frank. There are 21 district board members.
Committee member Jennifer Clark, whose district is home to Winchester House, said it was a big project that had been a long time coming.
Clark said she asked a lot of questions about what will happen to the site.
“The answer is nothing at the moment,” she said after the meeting. “It will be a natural space and it will remain so for the foreseeable future.”
Winchester House is part of Lake County’s sprawling Libertyville campus, but the future of the location is yet to be determined.
Also on Tuesday, the district board is expected to approve a $ 36,603 contract with the CDW government for hardware and electronics to bypass fiber optic cabling under a building on Winchester House grounds, public works, and traffic to the District network connects.