High winds apparently caused a portion of the brick façade on a building on the campus of West Suburban Medical Center to detach and fall to the ground on Feb. 21. No one was injured during the incident at the old and vacant school of nursing which fronts Erie Street just west of Austin Blvd.
“It appeared approximately 5-feet x 30-feet, plus or minus, of brick veneer had dislodged from the structure above the top floor on the northern wall,” said Tammie Grossman, Oak Park development customer services director.
The bricks fell at about 7:15 a.m., Feb. 21, according to Manoj Prasad, CEO of Resilience Healthcare. The Village of Oak Park was notified of the accident not long after and emergency personnel blocked the street from traffic, while village staff discussed the situation with West Suburban’s maintenance staff. The situation was monitored throughout the day.
The building was inspected by village inspectors and the hospital’s masonry contractor and structural engineer. Village staff ordered safety fencing and scaffolding to be erected. The village had not issued any prior code violation notices regarding the building.
A professional engineering evaluation of the impacted area, as well as an overall building evaluation, was conducted the afternoon of the accident. Prasad told Wednesday Journal the following morning that he’d received a verbal report that the building was structurally sound.
“We will get the facade repaired as permitted by the village,” he said.
No services are provided out of the building, so the accident did not cause any lapse in patient care. The building has not been in use since West Suburban’s nursing school shut down, roughly a decade ago.
The Village of Oak Park’s Neighborhood Services Division remains in communication with West Suburban staff and is continuing to monitor the site, according to Grossman.
Looking back at West Sub’s School of Nursing
The building on the West Suburban Medical Center campus, which suffered a brick façade failure last week, is the long empty School of Nursing. We asked the Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest to scour its archives for images from back in the day.
The two nurses perched on the ledge with the West Side as the background were part of an early 1940s nursing class. The building also featured a rooftop garden which was a lovely lunch spot.