D&B is Assisting State Parks in Transforming the Former Kings Park Psychiatric Center

Posted on June 12, 2014

Established in approximately 1885, what we used to refer to as the Kings Park Psychiatric Center (KPPC) encompassed over 500 acres and served as one of New York State’s premier mental health facilities. At the peak of its operation in the 1950s, the center was managed by the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) as one of the largest mental health institutions in the world. With close to 10,000 patients, the KPPC was considered to be a self-sufficient “city” that provided lodging for patients, dormitories to accommodate staff, as well as its own police and fire departments, railroad siding, power plant, water supply and sewerage systems, farms, and manufacturing facilities. The facility was subsequently closed by the State in 1996, at which point the majority of its remaining patients were transferred to Pilgrim State Psychiatric Center located in Brentwood.

D&B Assisting State Parks in Transforming the Former Kings Park Psychiatric Center

Razing Building No. 29.1 – Power Plant Smoke Stack

In the year 2000, approximately 135 acres of the former psychiatric center were transferred to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) to establish the Nissequogue River State Park. Later, in 2006, the balance of the 500 acre facility was also transferred to New York State Parks completing the land area that has come to be known as Nissequogue River State Park. Even today, the remnants of the facility continues to have a campus-like character and is a mix of landscaped lawn areas, open meadows, mature woods and developed areas with vacant buildings. Currently, the developed areas consist of approximately 63 abandoned buildings which once comprised the KPPC Facility. In addition, approximately 5 miles of underground steam tunnels are located in the park facility which were historically used as part of the utility grid originating at the former power plant and designed to convey steam to each of the on-site buildings for space heating.

In early 2009 OPRHP retained D&B Engineers and Architects, P.C. (D&B) to provide engineering/technical services in support of a comprehensive facility-wide hazardous materials assessment which would eventually lead to the preparation of detailed plans and specifications for the hazardous materials abatement and demolition of specific buildings, associated steam tunnels and related structures.

D&B Assisting State Parks in Transforming the Former Kings Park Psychiatric Center
The hazardous materials investigation/assessment undertaken by D&B entailed inspection and testing of over 2.5 million square feet of interior building space, along with over 5 miles of underground steam tunnels.

Prior to embarking on the investigation/assessment phase of the assignment, D&B launched the preparation of a site-specific health and safety plan along with a structural evaluation of buildings and tunnels to be certain that all targeted structures and underground tunnels were safe for entry by the Project Team.

In March 2012, the OPRHP advanced the first phase of hazardous materials abatement and building demolition activities, referred to as the “Fast-Track Demolition Contract”. This first phase focused on a group of buildings/structures which had notably deteriorated since the facility’s closure in 1996. The scope of work included the demolition of a total of 19 dilapidated buildings/structures, including a 240-foot masonry smoke stack. In addition, this phase of the project included demolition of associated underground steam tunnels, roadways and walkways; abatement of hazardous materials including asbestos-containing materials, lead-based paint and polychlorinated biphenyl caulk; transporting and disposing demolition debris off-site; recycling of inert demolition debris on-site and site restoration.

Construction activities associated with the abatement/demolition of the structures selected as part of the “Fast-Track Building Demolition Contract” were initiated in July 2012 and completed in June 2013 under the supervision of OPRHP with D&B personnel in a supporting role.
The project included the following:

  • Clearing and grubbing activities incidental to demolition activities including removal of trees and limbs identified as posing unsafe conditions;
  • Asbestos, lead-containing paint and polychlorinated biphenyl caulk abatement activities within the identified buildings and structures;
  • Hazardous materials removal activities within the identified buildings and structures;
  • Excavation of lead-contaminated soil surrounding select building/structures;
  • Closure of underground injection control structures;
  • Removal of former aboveground fuel oil storage tanks;
  • Disconnection and removal of building utilities;
  • Demolition of identified existing buildings, structures and appurtenances, including associated underground tunnels, roadways and walkways;
  • Processing of inert construction and demolition debris for reuse on-site;
  • Construction of a new boat ramp and associated marina facilities; and
  • Grading, backfilling, compaction, site restoration and landscaping.
D&B Assisting State Parks in Transforming the Former Kings Park Psychiatric Center

Demolition of Building No. 123 – Kitchen/Dining Room

Substantial completion of construction activities was achieved in June 2013, approximately 2 months ahead of the approved project schedule. The overall construction cost was approximately $6,500,000. D&B provided engineering services to support OPRHP throughout all phases of this project, including the performance of Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments, performance of hazardous materials assessments, remedial planning/design; and construction administration, including construction oversight, web-based community air monitoring program implementation and community outreach participation.

OPRHP’s goal in completing these activities is to provide a path forward from a largely institutional facility to a facility more widely utilized for public enjoyment as part of the New York State park system.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, along with D&B, were responsible for managing the successful completion of the project, including:

  • overall project completed on schedule and within budget;
  • on-site recycling of demolition debris in consultation with the NYSDEC;
  • virtually no significant contractor claims;
  • utilization of web-based, real-time community air monitoring program;
  • successfully petition New York State Department of Labor for variances with respect to asbestos abatement;
  • successful Health and Safety Program – no “incidents”- or “near misses;”
  • effectively controlled/limited on-site dust generation/airborne contaminants; and
  • maintained excellent working relationships with regulatory agencies.

For additional information on this project and how D&B can assist with your abatement/demolition project, contact Richard M. Walka at rwalka@db-eng.com (516) 364-9890 Ext. 3006 or Frank DeVita at fdevita@db-eng.com (516) 364-9890 Ext. 3064. We also urge our readers to visit the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Presentation web-site at www.kppccleanup.com for additional project information.