OXFORD, MS (WMC) - University of Mississippi announced it reached a deal with Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi to purchase the hospital's existing property in Oxford, MS.
The sale agreement was approved by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning during a meeting on June 15.
If the deal goes through, Ole Miss will pay $22 million for the 15-acre site. The sale includes the 428,000 square foot building, a parking garage with 670 spaces, 250 surface parking spaces, and 75 underground parking spaces.
"The purchase of this property allows us to provide improved space for our support units and other functions that serve external constituencies," said Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter in a written statement. "It will also be a major factor in helping us effectively address our capacity for future growth."
Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi has been planning for a replacement hospital since 2009. The new hospital is expected to be five stories and "have more comprehensive medical and surgical services to serve those in need."
"Throughout this process, our top priority was finding a new owner that would use the property for a cause that would benefit our city, and we believe the university is a perfect choice," said Bill Henning, administrator and CEO of Baptist North Mississippi. "We look forward to seeing how the university will transform the facility and the positive impact it will have on our community."
The sale agreement between Baptist and Ole Miss allows the hospital plenty of time to move into its new facility, which is expected to open in November 2017.
The agreement will now be submitted to City of Oxford and Lafayette County for a chance to match the offer under the right of first refusal. The city and county both have 30 days to respond; however, in the news release provided by University of Mississippi, Oxford's mayor expressed his approval of the sale.
"On behalf of the Board of Aldermen and the city of Oxford, we are pleased with the Baptist North Mississippi and the University of Mississippi's purchase and sale agreement," Oxford Mayor Pat Patterson said. "We think it will serve our growing community well.