The Waxahachie City Council accepted a donation from Baylor Scott & White of its former hospital campus on West Jefferson Street at its Monday night meeting. The city will look to redevelop the site, which adjoins Getzendaner Park.
Baylor Scott & White moved out of the old campus to its new facility at 2400 N. Interstate Highway 35E in December 2014.
The West Jefferson location was founded by Dr. W.C. Tenery as the Waxahachie Sanitarium in 1914, with additions to the facility made over time.
Waxahachie City Manager Michael Scott said the former hospital site provides the city with a unique development opportunity.
“Baylor Scott & White have graciously agreed to donate to the city their old campus,” Scott said. “There are the main hospital building and some parking lots. All total is just under nine acres.
“We have had some ideas of working out a redevelopment opportunity to where you could help anchor the west side of the downtown, down the trail by Getzendaner,” he said. “The redevelopment opportunity there would be great. It really opens that portal to the west. We are excited about looking at the possibilities and options that we have.”
Scott said the hospital site would probably not be considered for use as additional office space for the city because, from an operational standpoint, it makes sense to keep everything nearby to City Hall.
Instead, the facility would lend itself to more of a community development type of project alongside the amenities of Getzendaner Park, the Chautauqua Auditorium and the hike and bike trail.
When Baylor Scott & White vacated the property, the city worked with them to try to repurpose it for other users. However, efforts never worked out, Scott said.
“Repurposing of an old hospital is a challenge,” he said. “To find a user that can go into that facility, it has got to be a unique tenant. Unfortunately, we were never able to make those work out.
“So, we said, ‘Gosh, if you can’t find someone to go in there what would you think about donating it to the city?’ Through some negotiations and discussions over the last couple of years, it has finally come to fruition.”
Over the next few months the property will be evaluated to see what the demolition costs are and what environmental issues there might be.
“Also, if a person would come forward with a reuse proposal for the property, that is something that we would entertain,” Scott said. “The agreement with Baylor Scott & White allows the building to be reused if there is that possibility.
“We have worked on it for so long already I would be surprised if (reuse) ended up being the case,” Scott said. “I think that most likely it will move toward demolition. It just can’t sit fallow like it is because the citizens deserve better than that.”