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Castle On The Hill: Public Will Be Involved In Planning The Future

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With an architect on board, work at the old Binghamton State Hospital will soon be underway. Two years ago, Binghamton University took over stewardship of the building, looking to breathe new life into Broome County's only National Historic Landmark.

The Castle on the Hill, empty for over 24 years, is in amazing condition for being vacant so long. That is because while BU may be stewards, the Office of Mental Health still owns the building and has never shut the heat off.

JMZ Architects and Planners is the firm tasked with entering the castle and assessing what repairs need to be done. This first phase will look at basic repairs in the exterior facade, and interior elements like heating, electric, ceilings, and floors. While this is happening, the university will work with the public to figure out a use for the 85,000 square foot building.

 “Where we may have a Binghamton University function and a private partner that meshes with what they are doing in there," says Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, “Whatever we do, is certainly much better than having it empty.”

In her decade long fight to save the castle, Lupardo fought and secured $12.5 million in state funding. This will be used to cover phase 1 of the renovations.

“Once we see what use we have for the building, then I will start getting funding for Phase 2. To do specific retrofits for specific renovations to match the need," says Lupardo.

Architects expect to finish their assessment of the building by October, with renovations getting underway in spring 2018.

“I’m so excited. To see some action finally taking place. After so many false starts… I almost hate to talk about it," laughs Lupardo.

As far as the future goes, it's good news for this local treasure, which will soon see new life.