The transformation of the long vacant New York State Inebriate Asylum (known as “the Castle,”) into a medical campus took a step closer on Monday with the announcement that John G. Waite Associates, Architects has been chosen for the restoration project.
The former asylum was built in 1858 and is located on the grounds of the Greater Binghamton Health Center. It has been vacant since the early 1990s. Upstate will use the nearly 85,000-square-foot building as a medical and health professional education center.
The first phase of the restoration includes all of the exterior work. It was originally funded for $12,450,000 in the fiscal year 2008-2009 state SUNY capital budget. Gov. Andrew Cusomo released the funding for phase one earlier this summer at the request of Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell) and the Upstate campus leadership.
“While restoring a National Historic Landmark, we will also be increasing the number of trained health professionals, at a time they are desperately needed,” Lupardo said.
Upstate President David R. Smith MD added that this Southern Tier project “is an important element in Upstate’s responsive regional growth agenda that we have undertaken to help meet the healthcare disparities throughout the region, by extending our medical services and education opportunities beyond our campus boundaries.”
Upstate’s Binghamton Campus was established as a branch campus of the College of Medicine in 1976, with students spending time in area hospitals and physician practices.
The JGWA architecture firm is a leader in the field of historic preservation architecture, adaptive reuse and new design for historic properties in the United States.
Roger Luther, president of the Preservation Association of the Southern Tier, said news of this restoration is good for the Binghamton community and for historic preservation in general. “Binghamton’s Castle is designated as a National Historic Landmark and is in some respects one of the most historically and architecturally significant structures in New York State,” he said.