Relocation of Oxford hospital still on track

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Despite the lack of obvious visible activity, officials are still working to choose among three proposed sites for the location of a new regional hospital in Oxford.
Memphis-based Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp. leases the current Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi, a 217-bed facility serving patients from several counties across the region, which is jointly owned by Oxford and Lafayette County.
Officials of the three entities agreed in principle last year that Baptist would look for a new and larger site than the current 13-acre campus.
“We believe for flexibility to respond to needs in the future that we’re going to need a lot more land,” said BMH-NM administrator Don Hutson, noting that other regional hospitals are on far larger campuses.
Three sites are still under study – on Highway 7 South near the Grand Oaks subdivision, just off Sisk Avenue near the Oxford Conference Center and near the proposed University of Mississippi Research Park south of Highway 6/278.
“Any one of the three could be a great site for the future,” said Jim Ainsworth, the Baptist system’s vice president.
City and county officials have supported Baptist’s proposed move from the current facility, which has been expanded several times during Baptist’s tenure.
“They have a very limited space, footprint-wise,” said Lafayette Board of Supervisors President Lloyd Oliphant.
Oxford Mayor George “Pat” Patterson agrees with the need.
“I think we’ll probably follow Baptist’s lead on this,” he said.
Hutson said while no deadlines have been set, he expects a decision “soon.”
This year?
“Oh, yes,” he said.

Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com.