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Baptist, governments wrap up hospital deal

OXFORD — After two years of negotiations, Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp has completed the purchase of a building it had been leasing from local governments.

The BMH North Mississippi hospital was sold for more than $60 million. The City of Oxford and Lafayette County will jointly share the profits.

The hospital will move forward with building a new $250-million facility in Oxford, according to The Oxford Eagle. Baptist has said it cannot grow or expand on its current site because it is landlocked on 13 acres

In 2009, Memphis, Tenn.-based Baptist announced plans to replace the current hospital with a new medical center. It sought to purchase the existing facility and buy its way out of a lease with the city and county, which owned the hospital. Baptist had leased the hospital since 1989.

The votes by city aldermen and county supervisors approving the sale came earlier this month.

How Oxford would use its share of the money was a point of contention for a time. The Oxford Board of Aldermen voted at one point to invest most of the money but set aside $2 million for immediate community needs.

However, at a recent meeting, the board reversed itself and voted to restore the $2 million into the investment pot after Mayor Pat Patterson threatened to veto the effort to use it for community needs.

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