Judge rules proposed hospital site within city limits

OXFORD — A Lafayette County judge has ruled that the land that a company has selected as the location of its new $300-million hospital will be included in the Oxford city limits.

Since Chancery Judge Ed Roberts approved the annexation last month, some objectors have dropped out of the case, but three others — Kenneth F. Farrell, James Morris and Terry Joe Blount — filed an appeal to have the case reviewed by the Mississippi State Supreme Court.

“We’re not ready to quit,” Farrell said.

Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi plans to build on the 160-acre site located south of Mississippi Highway 6.

The petition to include the land inside the city limits was filed in February by the previous owners Bob and Beth King who sold the property to Baptist to use for its new hospital. Baptist, part of a Memphis, Tenn.–based health care network, joined the petition so that the new hospital could receive fire and police protection and city water and sewer services.

Bill Henning, CEO and administrator for Baptist, said the decision by the judge was an important step in the hospital’s plans to build a larger, more advanced facility.

Baptist did not need the annexation to build its hospital. Even if Roberts ruled differently, it would not have stopped the health care corporation from building its new hospital.

Before Baptist purchased the land, there was a clause in the contract between Oxford, Lafayette County and Baptist that said if the city and county sold the current hospital to Baptist — which had been being leased to Baptist — that the new hospital would have to be built inside the city limits.

However, once the Kings’ land was selected by Baptist, city and county officials agreed to change the wording in the contract to state that the new hospital could be built “partly in and partly out” of the city of Oxford. Some of the land Baptist purchased is located inside the city limits.

The city and county each received $30 million for the sale of the current hospital to allow Baptist out of its lease.

 

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