Dominican Sisters invite public to ASB closing ceremony

(Great Bend, Kas.) - The community will have a chance to pray our goodbye to the Allied Services Building (ASB) during a closing ceremony this weekend, said Sister Celeste Albers, worship director at the local Dominican Sisters Motherhouse.

The event is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday in front of the ASB in the 3600 block of Broadway. It is expected to last about 30 minutes.

The structure will be razed in the near future to accommodate the reconfiguration of the St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center campus.

Sister Celeste said the feeling at the convent is bittersweet. The Dominican Sisters completely understand that the building has to come down but also believe it should be formally recognized for the vital role it played in the community, she said.

It was the original home of the Dominican School of Nursing.

This closing ceremony will help all of us in our grieving because we hate to see it go, Sister Celeste commented. Anyone who has a history here will be sad about this.

Wonderful things happened at the ASB and this ceremony will remind us that God carried us through the nursing school and other ministries in this special building, she added.

Despite this feeling of loss, however, Sister Celeste noted that she and the other sisters are realists.

We do believe this razing of the building is essential; it must be done, Sister Celeste said. The structure contains asbestos and has structural issues. At this point, it can no longer be used in a healthy way.

Sister Celeste recalled that those who attended a similar ceremony for the closing of the old St. Rose Hospital were comforted by the prayer service.

And now we will pray our goodbye to the ASB, she said. People may not recognize the importance of grieving in this way. But grieving is not just for the loss of a person; it can be for the loss of part of our past. We soon will see what new life springs from this.

During the ceremony on Sunday, the prayers will include a reflection on the history of the ASB, which was constructed in 1953.

We will come together to tell the story of this building and thank God for his blessings on everyone who benefitedfrom its ministries, Sister Celeste said.

The Dominican School of Nursing opened in 1954 when students vacated the Central Normal College facility. The nursing school was closed in 1971 when Barton Community College started its nursing school; that successful program continues today.

The structure then became known as the ASB. It became home to Central Kansas Medical Centers (CKMCs) lab, which needed to expand. It also provided accommodations for visiting doctors and offered space for a variety of meetings. (CKMC became St. Rose a few years ago.)

The ASB had also housed Golden Belt Home Health & Hospice and other entities for a number of years. GBHH&H, part of the St. Rose family, is currently located at 3520 Lakin.

We encourage everyone to attend our ceremony to celebrate this rich local history and the Dominican Sisters heritage, Sister Celeste said. The community will be comforted to hear about the past and plan for the future.
St. Rose is part of Centura Health, which connects individuals and families across western Kansas and Colorado with more than 6,000 physicians, 15 hospitals, seven senior-living communities, physician practices and clinics, and home-care and hospice services.