RAVENSWOOD — Considering the building's tortured history, it's almost fitting that the long-abandoned Ravenswood Hospital should meet a slow death. Demolition of the structure, which began last week, is set to continue through April 2013.
Those hoping for a dramatic implosion to the building at 4550 N. Winchester Ave. will have to settle for construction cranes and excavators, just visible behind exterior safety fencing, as the hospital is systematically dismantled floor by floor.
The property, abandoned since 2002, was purchased by Lycee Francais Chicago as the site of the school's new campus, scheduled to open in 2015.
Above-grade demolition will continue on the main tower — dubbed the Adler Pavilion — through November, with below-grade demolition running through December, according to a timetable provided by Robert Nauert, director of finance and personnel for Lycee Francais.
Demolition of a secondary building on Wilson will last from December 2012 through February 2013.
Lycee Francais sped up its demolition timetable under growing concerns that the vacant building, an eyesore marred by graffiti and broken windows, had become a target for vandals and gangs.
A teenage boy died in a fall after breaking into the building this past July.
With the deconstruction now underway, neighbors' concerns about noise and traffic have proved unfounded thus far. Construction equipment was all but drowned out by nearby leaf blowers and lawn mowers.
"I don't have any problem," said Sadie Rogers, who lives blocks from the site. Though she would have preferred Lycee Francais to make use of the existing structure she found little else to protest. "Do what you gotta do, Chicago."
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