Site of Maryland psychiatric hospital to be used for local university expansion — with a price tag of $1

The Maryland Board of Public Works voted to lease the campus of Spring Grove Hospital Center in Catonsville, Md., to the University of Maryland Baltimore County for an expansion of the university's campus, Washington Top News reported May 11.

The lease, which cost $1, will last up to 10 years with the option to be renewed for another 10. Ownership will transfer to the university after the state health department fully vacates the property.

Spring Grove Hospital is one of the state's three publicly run psychiatric hospital campuses with over 70 buildings and employs approximately 800 state workers.

The center has 397 psychiatric beds, and state officials have not announced a plan for relocating current patients once the university obtains full ownership of the property.

When asked why such a large property could have such a low selling point, Nelson Reichart, principal deputy secretary for the Maryland Department of General Services, said appraisers placed the value of the land at $20 million, but because of damage, there was an estimated cost of about $135 million to make the property "suitable for development."

Health Secretary Dennis Schrader said the leasing plan for Spring Grove had been five years in the making and that the plan was necessary to allow the state government to begin constructing the first of four new crisis centers in Maryland.

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