Columbus Regional Health will auction off the remaining contents of the former Clarion Hotel and Conference Center before the building is demolished.

The public auction will be at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 16 on the former Clarion site, conducted by Earl’s Auction Company, said Kelsey DeClue, spokeswoman for the health network.

In July, the hospital system purchased the 20.72-acre Clarion property for $4.25 million after it was put up for sale in a foreclosure auction. Lien holder German American Capital Corp., the only auction bidder, then sold the property to the hospital system for the same amount, well above the $2.7 million the property was assessed at earlier this year.

In a letter to the community, hospital system President and CEO Jim Bickel said the site would be used to provide health care services for Columbus’ west side, without mentioning a specific plan. The Columbus Regional Hospital campus is located at 2400 17th St. on the east side of Columbus.

Bickel said in his earlier letter that providing additional health care services in western Bartholomew County has long been part of the hospital system’s long-range plans. A west-side location will provide more convenient access for local patients and others traveling to Columbus from a 10-county region for health care services, he said.

Bickel said the hospital was committed to preserving historic and nostalgic pieces within the facility and invited the Bartholomew County Historical Society to secure new uses for those items. Hospital officials also invited nonprofit agencies and community groups to salvage contents — including furniture, appliance items and fixtures — that could be reused to benefit the community. Those agencies picked up furniture, office supplies, kitchen items, appliances, carts, electronics and other items earlier this month.

Items remaining after that process — such as chairs, kitchen items and more furniture — what will be sold during the Sept. 16 auction, DeClue said.

Prior to demolition, expected by the end of the year, hospital officials are offering the facility as a training facility for local law enforcement and fire and rescue groups.

Columbus police officers have used buildings set for demolition as a training opportunity, particularly for SWAT team members to practice procedures, said Lt. Matt Harris, Columbus Police Department spokesman.

For example, officers can practice breaching doors with a door ram and not worry about any damage, he said. There also is the possibility of practicing realistic active-shooter tactical training due to the size of the building and its multiple floors.

Capt. Mike Wilson, Columbus Fire Department spokesman, said the former Clarion building could be used for interior hose-advancing operations and breaching walls. The multiple stairwells throughout the Clarion building would provide an opportunity to train on rope rescues, he said.

If you go

What: Auction of former Clarion Hotel and Conference Center contents

When: 9:30 a.m. Sept. 16

Where: 2480 Jonathan Moore Pike, Columbus

For more information: 812-376-5342

Author photo
Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.