St. Clair Commission looking to keep vandals out of old hospital site

Posted: Tuesday, January 27, 2015 9:14 pm | Updated: 1:02 pm, Wed Mar 18, 2015.
By GARY HANNER, Home staff writer

PELL CITY – Property Manager Harold Hoyle shared with the St. Clair County Commission on Tuesday that vandalism is taking place at the old hospital site.

“Last week, someone knocked the front door out,” Hoyle said. “We have put boards and bars over all the entrances. They have knocked out windows in the past, and we have even put signs up.”

Hoyle said the next step in securing that hospital will be a chain-linked fence to keep people out of there.
Commissioner Jeff Brown inquired about putting a camera on the property, but Hoyle said that would not keep anybody out.

“But we could find out who is doing it,” Brown said.

Hoyle said that could be done, but he did have an estimate on the fencing.

Hoyle said it would take 1,050 linear feet to go from Hardee’s to the wood line to Interstate 20 on the east side of the hospital.

“It would cost $22.50 per foot,” Hoyle said. “Add in two 12-foot gates and you are looking at a little over $25,000.”

County attorney James E. Hill III said the chain-link fence would have to be bid out.

The commission agreed that this matter would be talked about in more depth at the next work session.

Commissioner Tommy Bowers wanted to know the timeframe of the latest break in. Hoyle said he was called at about 8 a.m. a couple of Sundays ago.

Brown wanted to have prices on some cameras brought to the next work session.

“If they will tear up a hospital, they will tear up a fence,” Brown said. “It just gives them something else to tear up.”

Hill added that the city of Pell City should be contacted about this matter.

“I’m sure they would want to participate in helping secure the old hospital and keep people out,” Hill said.

Commission chairman Paul Manning asked Hill to draft a letter to send to the city of Pell City.

“In that letter, express to them that we are willing to try cameras and are also looking at the fencing,” Manning said.

Hoyle said cameras could be installed, but there is no power and no Internet connection.

“From a liability standpoint, we have been very proactive about telling the public not to come on our property,” Hill said. “When someone is trespassing on our property that we have marked as our property and secured with boards and things of that nature, every step we take is great. It’s one more defense if someone gets hurt.”

Hoyle said the city of Pell City discovered five kids in there playing on one occasion.

“On another occasion, they captured three people who had 150 pounds of copper,” Hoyle said.

Contact Gary Hanner at