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Days numbered for former Butler VA domiciliary building

The VA Butler Healthcare’s former domiciliary building, a three-story brick structure at 325 New Castle Road in Butler Township, is undergoing demolition, which began during the last week of March. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle

BUTLER TWP — After sitting unused for more than a decade, the days are numbered for VA Butler Healthcare’s former domiciliary building.

The three-story brick structure at 325 New Castle Road in Butler Township is undergoing demolition, which began last week and is estimated to be finished in 30 to 60 days.

According to the project’s chief engineer, Dan Michalek, there are no plans for a new building at the site for the foreseeable future.

“For now, we’re just going to turn it into green space,” Michalek said.

Before it closed in 2012, the building served as temporary housing for veterans dealing with a variety of behavioral issues. A new domiciliary building opened in October 2012, which, unlike the old “dom,” offers beds for female veterans and is handicap-accessible.

Michalek said Butler VA began seeking approval for the demolition of the domiciliary roughly two years after it closed. At some point during the decade-long Section 106 review process, the Butler County Housing Authority expressed interest in using the building, but that fell through, he noted.

“There's a long process you have to go through to demolish a historical building,” Michalek said. “You have to exhaust every effort to see if there's other government agencies that are interested in the building.

Between the old building’s closure and its demolition, some of the only action it saw came last month, when it served as a firefighting training site for the VA Butler Healthcare Fire Department.

The company contracted to perform the demolition is RB VetCo, a veteran-owned firm owned by former Pittsburgh Steeler Rocky Bleier. The old domiciliary will not meet a wrecking ball — not literally, anyway. Instead, an excavator with a claw will bring the structure down bit by bit.

“They're little-by-little grabbing and ripping and bringing the building down with this claw,“ Michalek said. ”It doesn’t generate as much dust.“

The VA Butler Healthcare’s former domiciliary building, a three-story brick structure at 325 New Castle Road in Butler Township is undergoing demolition, which began during the last week of March. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle
The VA Butler Healthcare’s former domiciliary building, a three-story brick structure at 325 New Castle Road in Butler Township is undergoing demolition, which began during the last week of March. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle
The VA Butler Healthcare’s former domiciliary building, a three-story brick structure at 325 New Castle Road in Butler Township is undergoing demolition, which began during the last week of March. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle
The VA Butler Healthcare’s former domiciliary building, a three-story brick structure at 325 New Castle Road in Butler Township is undergoing demolition, which began during the last week of March. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle
The VA Butler Healthcare’s former domiciliary building, a three-story brick structure at 325 New Castle Road in Butler Township is undergoing demolition, which began during the last week of March. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle
The VA Butler Healthcare’s former domiciliary building, a three-story brick structure at 325 New Castle Road in Butler Township is undergoing demolition, which began during the last week of March. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle
The VA Butler Healthcare’s former domiciliary building, a three-story brick structure at 325 New Castle Road in Butler Township is undergoing demolition, which began during the last week of March. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle

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