May 28, 2010

State of Alabama
Press Release: Mental Health, Department of

STATEMENT REGARDING THE SALE OF BRYCE HOSPITAL TO THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA

MONTGOMERY – The sale of Bryce Hospital to the University of Alabama is complete. The official documents were signed by university President, Robert Witt, Governor Bob Riley and Mental Health Commissioner John Houston on May 27.

The Alabama Department of Mental Health will continue its current operations on the property. The university will lease the land and structures back to the department for $1.00 per year for a period of three years, with an optional one year extension, while the new hospital is being constructed. One recent development that was not part of earlier discussions was the inclusion of the Harper Geriatric Psychiatry Center in the sale. The Harper Center is a state of the art facility that opened in the late 90s and has an average census of around 100 patients. The Harper Center will also be leased back to the department, but for an indefinite period, understood to mean as long as it is needed by the department to provide mental health services.

Commissioner John Houston said, “I am pleased that the department has the opportunity to move forward with its plans to build a new hospital and provide more services in communities across the state. I am grateful to our staff, former Commissioner Kathy Sawyer, and all of the people who worked diligently to bring this historic event to fruition. Our goal has always been to put patient care first and provide for the future needs of the system with respect to advancing the quality and quantity of services now provided at Bryce through a new hospital and expanded community services. Governor Riley has been a strong advocate for that. It is reassuring to see the university’s commitment to respect the rich history of Bryce Hospital and incorporate aspects of that history into its future use of the property. We have been neighbors since 1861 and over the years the university and Bryce Hospital have interacted culturally, educationally and at times programmatically. Many of the schools of the university, such as Social Work, Nursing, Psychology and Law teach subject matter related to the mission of the department. Hopefully, with the acquisition of Bryce, these relationships can be strengthened and future partnerships will become even stronger.”

The department estimates that the process of constructing the new hospital will take between two and three years. Over that period, as community services are developed, the current hospital will be downsized from its current 325 bed capacity. The new hospital is projected to be a 268 bed facility. The agreement does provide that the university and ADMH will explore the advantages of the university constructing the new hospital per the direction and specifications of the department.

The following are details about the sale price and terms:
  • Total sales price is $87.75 million.
  • $10 million of the $87.75 million is to be allocated by the University of Alabama as follows: $6.5 million for preservation of the original historical center pavilion and $3.5 million for continuation of land contamination monitoring and maintenance.
  • $77.75 million purchase price to the department for 168.29 acres. ($5.75 million of the $77.75 million is for the 8.16 acre Harper Geriatric Psychiatry Center).
RESOURCES
Information about mental health services in the state of Alabama can be obtained by contacting the Department of Mental Health’s Office of Public Information and Community Relations at 334-242-3417 or by visiting us online at www.mh.alabama.gov.
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