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Group working to save historic Saskatchewan Hospital from demolition

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WATCH ABOVE: A local group is working to save the historic Saskatchewan Hospital in North Battleford from demolition after a new facility opens.

The Saskatchewan Hospital in North Battleford was opened in 1913 as the North Battleford Insane Asylum. In the 1950s some 2,000 patients lived at the psychiatric facility.

That is no longer the case. In the next few month the hospital will be closing its doors, after a new $400-million state-of-the-art facility was been built to replace it. This leaves the question: what to do with the old facility?

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It could be demolished if there’s no bid for the property, according to the province.

This is where Jane Shury comes in. She’s a member and chair of the Save Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford committee.

“This hospital has given our province 105 years of care and has played a very important role in developing what is now some of the best treatment for mentally ill people,” Shury told Global News.

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“It’s so important to keep part of the physical building and to keep the history so that we recognize where we came from in treatment.”

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The Saskatchewan government will soon begin the process of looking for developers to submit proposals for the land and facility. But finding a buyer who wants to keep all or parts intact might be challenging.

“The building is a large part of it … but it’s going to take an awful lot to do anything with it,” Shury said.

“This is in the hands of the government and we’re hoping that whatever happens we’ll be allowed to do what we proposed, in keeping a portion of the hospital and museum to show what the first 100 years of care in our province looked like.”

Save Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford Committee is looking for financial assistance and volunteers to help their cause.