Will Oxford’s Baptist Memorial Hospital be Making a Move?

Autumn Clark and Graham Doty

Baptist Memorial Hospital is celebrating its 20th anniversary in Oxford and Lafayette County.  It that time, Baptist has invested $160 million in buildings and equipment.  It has increased the number of hospital beds from 150 to 217.  Why then is Baptist Hospital considering a move from its existing location to build a new $200 million hospital?

Assistant Administrator Peyton Warrington has the answer.  Warrington said, “We cannot build any more on this present campus.  So, if we are wanting to grow and expand especially at the rate that we have over the past 20 years, we are really going to need to move to another location to do that.”

There is one major hurdle to cross before this can become a reality.  In 1989 Baptist entered into a long term lease on the existing hospital, which is owned by the city and county.  Baptist has to address this contract before it can move forward.

“Right now we have had the hospital appraised and we are waiting on that information.  That is one of the very first steps is to have the appraisal and that will be taken back to Baptist and the city and the county, which we expect back hopefully very shortly,” Warrington said.

Oxford Mayor Pat Patterson is encouraged at the prospects of a new hospital and is optimistic that an agreement can be reached by all parties.

“Providing all other things fall into place, I’d love to see a new 250-300 bed hospital for this community.  It will serve literally your grandkids.  For my position right now, it’s all positive,” Patterson said.

This is not the first time that Baptist Hospital has approached the city and county about new construction off campus.  At one point, Baptist wanted to build a cancer center and an outpatient surgery center approximately one mile from the hospital.  Former Oxford mayor Richard Howorth remembers that there was controversy on this issue but ultimately they were able to work out an agreement.

“Baptist to their credit dealt with some issues and the community leadership to their credit let go of emotional feelings and everything got back in what I would say is a very good place,” Howorth said.

There is still much work to be done to make the proposed hospital a reality.  Assuming everything works out, a field at the intersection of South Lamar and Highway 7 will be the home of the new Baptist hospital within five years.  To find more information about the medical community in Oxford, MS check out www.oxfordms.com/medical.html.

To view a timeline of events about the North Mississippi Baptist Memorial Hospital click here.

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~ by autumnclark on November 18, 2009.

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