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Officials, hospital to continue negotiations

OXFORD — The City of Oxford will join Lafayette County supervisors in moving ahead with negotiations with Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi on the medical center’s plans to build a new $300-million facility in Oxford.

The Oxford Eagle reports that with the city’s action last Tuesday, both local governments have entered into a memorandum of understanding with the hospital. The hospital wants to buy out of the original lease it had with the city and the county for about $60 million.

In 2009, Baptist announced its plans to replace the current hospital with a new $300-million facility. Baptist wants to buy the existing facility and buy its way out of a lease with the city and county, which currently own the hospital. That lease isn’t set to expire until 2034.

Baptist has said it cannot grow or expand on its current site because it is landlocked on 13 acres. The hospital cannot build up because of new seismic codes.

Baptist leased the hospital from the city and county in 1989.

State laws prohibited selling hospitals owned by cities or counties to the private sector, although they could lease the property and buildings. The hospital was a 150-bed facility then. Since then, the hospital has grown to a 217-bed facility, employing 1,000 people.

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