LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, Clearfield County — More than three months after being destroyed by fire, a Clearfield County senior living facility is being torn down and rebuilt.
Colonial Courtyard in Lawrence Township caught fire when it was struck by lightning on June 25. While all residents and staff were safely evacuated and the blaze contained to prevent spreading to other nearby apartments and nursing homes, the building itself was a total loss. For months, the property has been ringed by yellow caution tape, with a makeshift tent office in front where employees have supervised and stood guard.
On Tuesday afternoon, the first steps toward removing the fire-ravaged building were made. Employees on site confirmed that a backhoe was on the scene.
In a press release, IntegraCare, the Wexford-based owner of the facility, said that tests were being done on the slab to determine its integrity. After those results are received, demolition will continue in preparation for replacing the structure.
“When considering rebuilding, we are taking into account the needs of our residents prior to the fire as well as current and future resident needs,” said IntegraCare President Rick Irwin. “We anticipate the design to include many modern amenities while still maintaining a warm and homelike feel.”
The new building is being designed by Pittsburgh-based Lami Grubb Architects to be about the same capacity but with a large porch area. There were 61 residents at the time of the blaze, many of whom were relocated to other IntegraCare facilities. The company said they are staying in touch with the families in question to keep them apprised of the progress for their potential return. Executive Director Candy Shomo said many expressed interest in coming back when the new building is completed.
“Our residents are like part of our family,” she said.