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$10,023.57, being the unexpended balance of $32,500 appropriated by chapter 620, Laws of 1899, for one dormitory building to house 150 inmates, was reappropriated for the same purpose.
The special appropriations amounted to $68,080.74 and the total appropriations to $143,080.74.
The appropriation for the work upon ward building G, $13,440, is being expended under contract, and the addition to the boiler house, for which $6,800 was appropriated, is under way.
Contracts have also been made for furniture and equipment for administration building, ward buildings F and G, and other buildings, $5,000.
No contracts have been made for the dynamo and engine for which $6,700 was appropriated, nor for the electric cable from switchboard, $2,160, and switchboard connection, $530, and the appropriation of $6,000 for ice-house and cold-storage also remains
Contracts have been made for one 150 horse-power boiler and connections, $3,500, and feed water heater, $1,800.
For the other work in buildings B, C, D and E, plans have been made but no contracts let.
The sum of $10,023.57 reappropriated is under contract.
The other minor appropriations are mostly provided for by plans and work under way.
This institution was established by the State as the third in the plan for a complete classification of the feeble-minded. It is designed to receive and to care for those cases which are incapable of education or mental development, as well as for those who belong wholly to the idiotic class. Its develop ment has been hampered by the fact that the property purchased by the State to use for asylum purposes was formerly the Oneida county farm. It was incumbered by the almshouse buildings, antiquated, dilapidated, and of comparatively little value for custodial purposes. It was necessary to remodel, reconstruct and repair these old buildings, and this involved the loss of much time and the expenditure of a very large amount of money. The delay incident upon these changes and betterments has prevented a rapid preparation of accommodations for this class of cases; and hence, with a present capacity for but 550, which is fully occupied, the necessity for new buildings to increase the dormitory accommodations is very urgent.
The Managers of the Rome institution are and always have been ready and willing to receive any patients for whom they can provide. Their ability to add to the number of inmates, however, is conditioned by the room at their disposal for dormitory or ward purposes. The pressure on this institution is greater than upon any other in this State, not excepting Craig Colony, where the applications for admission are numerous and urgent.
It is the duty of the State to make proper provision for this class of defectives, and a new group of buildings should be provided for the institution at Rome as soon as possible, so as to secure the removal to it of all the idiotic now kept in other institutions, public and private, as well as those still cared for in families owing to the lack of proper custodial resources. This is demanded by the best interests of the younger members of society, as well as by the needs of the unfortunates for whom a custodial asylum is necessary.
To provide extended ward accommodations at the institution at Rome by sufficient appropriation will decrease the pressure upon the other two asylums for the mentally defective and enable both Syracuse and Newark to transfer the idiotic now held in these institutions to their proper place. It will open the doors of the Syracuse school to the feeble-minded boys and girls who are now denied admission for lack of room, and ultimately the enlargement of the Rome Asylum will enable the State to complete that plan of classification which it has undertaken for the purpose of assuring humane and scientific treatment to its defective wards.
As this Asylum is not located directly on a railroad, all supplies must be hauled to it on wagons a distance of two and a half miles. The expense for this transfer is heavy, and the item of freight is figured into every contract for building or general supply, so that in the end the State pays not less than 50 cents on each wagon load of material used at the Asylum. It is estimated that in the course of 10 years this expense will aggregate $30,000. The inmates are idiots of low grade and cannot be used to do this teaming. A railroad switch would do away with this expensive hauling and permit the direct delivery of supplies upon the grounds by the railroad company. The cost of such a switch should be saved in a few years by the reduced charges for freight, and it will be a wise investment of public funds to secure its construction at once.
A mortuary building with facilities for laboratory work should be added to the general equipment. This mortuary is needed to replace an old shed that had been used by the county for the dead awaiting burial. There should be better facilities for preserving bodies in warm weather and for holding postmortems and doing other scientific work.
At the present time there are insufficient facilities for the storage of vegetables, and as a consequence each year there is
more or less waste of the products of the farm and garden. This will be remedied by the construction of an additional storehouse for vegetables.
The supply of ice furnished by the present ice pond is not large enough to assure a full supply throughout the season. A new ice pond can be made at a small expense. It is recommended that an appropriation be made for this purpose.
All the original buildings, having been used, as hereinbefore stated, for many years county almshouse buildings, require extensive repairs and alterations. By reconstruction and repair they can be continued in use for some years to come, but these repairs and alterations cannot be postponed, for delay will greatly increase the ultimate cost. A liberal appropriation is needed for these repairs. This should cover all the alterations in buildings B and E, as well as the general painting, repairs, betterments and sanitary floors in toilet rooms in B and C.
Additions are needed to the group of outbuildings. Silos and a vegetable-propagating house will prove profitable to the State, permitting the Asylum to preserve enough food for its large dairy and also raise all the plants required to set out its vegetable gardens, thus escaping the annual loss incurred from frost, rain or drought. There is need of stable room for additional stock, and of a proper approach to the barn. The pig-pens need a concrete floor, and the electric-light building one of cement. The grounds should be graded and the walks extended as the buildings are completed.
As this is a custodial Asylum, the safety of the inmates depends upon the certainty of the custody. The locks of the old buildings are worn out and do not hold the inmates, as intended, within the buildings. New cylinder locks are needed in buildings D and E.
The Board recommends the following appropriations, or so
much thereof as may be necessary, to this institution:
For mortuary building, $2,500; for ward building J to accommodate 210 men, $41,500; for heating and ventilating ward building J, $6,000; for plumbing and drainage in ward building J, $5,500; for lighting fixtures in ward building J, $2,000; for electric cable from switchboard to ward building J, $3,360; for silos, $125; for vegetable propagating house, $2,500; for additional stable for necessary stock, $3,000; for vegetable storehouse, $2,200; for painting, repairs and betterments in buildings B and E, including plastering and flooring in building B, remodeling north end of building E, and plastering, steel ceilings and sanitary floors in bath and toilet-rooms of building E, $11,400; for sanitary floors in four toilet and two bathrooms in building B, $1,600; for sanitary floors in four toilet-rooms in building C, $1,000; for steel flagstaff, $180; for concrete floor in pig. pen, $100; for cement floor in electric-light building, $500; for approach to stable, $22.30; for grading walks and improving grounds, $2,500; for cylinder locks in buildings Dand E, $800; for painting walls of administration building, $500; for railroad switch, $10,000; for fruit and shade trees, $500; for graveling ice pond, $300; for construction of new ice pond, $500; making the special appropriations approved of, $99,415; maintenance appropriation, $90,000; for deficiency in maintenance appropriation for the year ending September 30, 1902, $10,000; making the total appropriation, $199,415.