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4. The isolation of the toilet-rooms and better bathing facilities. The toilet-rooms are required to be located in exterior rooms having corridors or ventilated halls and ample window space. They are thus effectually separated from living and sleeping rooms. The shower or rain bath is now employed instead of the tub, except in special cases.
5. The hospital is isolated and provided with all the necessary equipment for the proper care of the sick and for patients who have undergone operations.
6. Economy is secured by requiring simplicity of style of architecture and by the provision in the written certificate of approval of the Board that the cost of construction shall not exceed the appropriation. That there shall be no departure from the plans approved by the Board, it is required that the plans approved shall be filed in the office of the Board.
During the past year the Board approved plans and specifications for new buildings and improvements, with the proviso in each case that the expense should not exceed the appropriation therefor, as follows:
House of Refuge for Women, Hudson.-- Plumbing cottages 2, 3, 4 and administration building; approved, February 28, 1901.
New York State Reformatory for Women, Bedford.-Constructing, plumbing, heating and ventilating, and electric wiring and fixtures for hospital; plumbing kitchen of prison building; approved, July 10, 1901. Ice-house and cold-storage building; approved June 4, 1901. Repairs and additions to dam; heating and ventilating prison building and cottages; approved, October 9, 1901.
State Custodial Asylum for Feeble-minded Women, Newark.Constructing, plumbing, heating and ventilating, pipe covering, electric wiring and fixtures for cottage "F;" approved, July 10, 1901.
Rome State Custodial Asylum, Rome.- Addition to boilerhouse; concrete floors in vegetable storehouse and cellar of farmhouse; fire-escapes for ward building “D;” approved, October 9, 1901. Constructing, heating and ventilating, plumbing, pipe covering, electric wiring and fixtures for ward building “G;” approved, July 9, 1901.
Craig Colony, Sonyea.-Brick church; approved, April 10, 1901. Constructing, heating and plumbing addition to trades school building; four cottages for employes; four dormitories for the Villa Flora group; finishing, plumbing and heating warehouse and cold-storage building; reservoir and drains for rainwater in the Villa Flora group; two silos; subway and approaches; approved, July 10, 1901. Greenhouse; sewers, drains and water supply for the men's and women's infirmaries; approved, October 9, 1901. Parochial residence for the Roman Catholic chaplain; approved, June 4, 1901.
New York State Woman's Relief Corps Home, Oxford.—Administration building; dining room building; approved, June 4, 1901. Steel beams in coal shed; new floors in coal shed and engine-room; approved, July 9, 1901.
New York State School for the Blind, Batavia.-Electric wiring main building, laundry, hospital and barn; approved, July 9, 1901.
Department of Public Charities, Brooklyn.—Bakery building; approved, February 28, 1901. Brick observation pavilion; frame pavilion for male almshouse; piazza for main building; repairs to roof of almshouse; refrigerator at the IIomeopathic hospital; tile floors and wainscoting for toilet-rooms in the Homeopathic hospital; approved, October 9, 1901. Repairs to Homeopathic hospital; approved, April 10, 1901. Steam laundry building and plant; approved, July 10, 1901.
Albany County Almshouse, Albany.-Hospital annex; approved, January 9, 1901.
Chautauqua County Almshouse, Dewittville. Additions and alterations to hospital; approved, October 9, 1901.
Erie County Almshouse, Buffalo.-Consumptive hospital; approved, January 9, 1901.
Schenectady County Almshouse, Schenectady:-New almshouse buildings; approved, July 10, 1901.
Steuben County Almshouse, Bath.--Additions to women's building and hospital; approved, February 28, 1901.
Wayne County Almshouse, Lyons.--Dormitory for women; keeper's residence; approved, June 4, 1901.
THE CONSTRUCTION AND IMPROVEMENT OF ALMSHOUSE
The committee on the construction of buildings reports extensive structural improvements in almshouses during the year. New York and Kings counties have made extensive additions to their buildings. This is especially true of Kings county; the Flatbush Almshouse and Hospital has been repaired and added to until it has become a satisfactory institution. The almshouse of Onondaga county has added a hospital, new plumbing and other equipments. The new almshouses of Fulton and Montgomery counties are built in accordance with the plans approved by the State Board of Charities; the Albany Almshouse may be said to have undergone a complete transformation. These are instances of the improvements that have been undertaken throughout the State. Almshouses may be called hospitals; they are, however, hospitals intended for infirm, aged and disabled dependents. While they do not require the elaborate equipments of the general hospital, they do need careful attention in the matters of heating, lighting and ventilation. In no place is it more essential to have perfect sanitation, and yet few builders pay sufficient attention to the sanitary details in the construction of this class of buildings. It is difficult to make changes after buildings have been finished, yet it sometimes happens that even before a building is half completed its defects are apparent. In one building, erected under contract, the plaster began to crack and fall from the walls before the building was ready for occupancy, and within a week from the opening, odors from the sewer were plainly perceptible throughout the house. It is true that later the contractor was compelled to make changes, but the changes were not sufficient to remedy the evil, as the structure was radically defective.
The tendency toward separate hospitals is to be commended. It is impossible to give the aged sick such care as they need in the ordinary dormitories wherein other inmates are required to remain. It is essential that the sick be separated from the
ell, and the erection of a hospital building, removed to some distance from the other buildings of the almshouse group, is a necessity.
The inspection of the almshouses of the State is one of the important duties of the State Board of Charities. This duty has been fully discharged during the past year. The several almshouses have been inspected at regular intervals by the almshouse inspectors appointed by the Board, and have also been visited by members of the Board in their respective districts, as well as in many instances by its committees. By these inspections and visitations the Board has maintained a close supervision over this class of our charitable institutions.
It is a matter of gratification that the Board is able to report a constant tendency toward improvement in the almshouses of the State. This improvement is especially manifested in more adequate provisions for the care of the sick, and in better methods of lighting, heating and ventilation.
Marked improvement has taken place in almost every almshouse within the past few years. It is not too much to say that the almshouses of the State of New York will now compare favorably with the best examples of this class of charitable institutions anywhere. It has been found that regular inspections are helpful to the officers in charge of public institutions, and bring to them a stimulus which promotes more efficient administration and conduces to the welfare of the inmates. Through these inspections the county boards of supervisors are made aware of the requirements of the almshouses, and are kept in touch with the State Board of Charities. As the object of inspection is the welfare of the public charges, local authorities recognize the fact that inspections secure economy, humanity and efficiency. They are made in a friendly spirit with the single purpose of promoting the public welfare.
Under the law the almshouses which are designated as State almshouses must be visited at least once each three months by the Superintendent of State and Alien Poor or his representative. These receiving almshouses are located conveniently throughout the State at central points, and receive poor persons who are properly chargeable to the State. At the time of inspection each poor person is carefully examined to the end that the State may not be burdened with the support of persons able to care for themselves. The non-residents are sent to their homes and the aliens are deported. In this way the numbers of State Poor supported in the State almshouses are kept down, and the
State is thus relieved of what would otherwise become an exces.
sive burden. In this way the inspection of the almshouses has a direct effect by relieving the State and its political sub-divisions, of the support of persons properly chargeable elsewhere.