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Bid for empty Brunswick hospital could lead to mental health facility

READ MORE: Bid for empty Brunswick hospital could lead to mental health facility
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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- Thirty-two acres of real estate off US 17 is for sale if you can beat the current $1.5 million bid.

Brunswick County is selling the old Community Hospital. Last night, commissioners accepted one bid, but it's not a done deal yet.

Since a new hospital opened last summer up the road, there's not much going on at the old Brunswick Community Hospital. Still the county has to maintain the empty building at a price tag of $30-40,000 a month.

"Our goal has primarily been to keep the building operating and keep the grounds maintained in a presentable condition," County Manager Marty Lawing said. "We have to run the boiler and chiller to keep the air in the building conditioned so we don't grow mold or anything like that."

The county wanted to sell the hospital for $2.5 million, but Crown Management Group of Hope Mills was the only bidder at $1.5 million.

Lawing says commissioners looked at a number of things before accepting that offer, including the cost of operation and maintaining the facility.

"We understand we're in an interesting economy and real estate market, and that's probably not working in our favor," Lawing said.

Crown Management wants to turn the old hospital into some kind of mental health facility.

"We're looking at several things: outpatient mental health services; we are looking at some inpatient mental health type services as well," Crown Management CEO Fred Surgeon said. "We would have some administrative office functions, also looking at having a regional training center in Brunswick County."

While those in the mental health field say this could benefit the community, many questions still need to be answered.

"Depending upon what the admission criteria of this hospital will be, in other words, depends upon the population they're going to serve and to what level of difficulty of individuals they will serve," said Foster Norman, head of the Southeastern Center for Mental Health.

Those answers won't be known for a few months. A lot of it depends on what the state decides, as licensing for a facility like this has to come from Raleigh.

Crown Management says its facility would provide at least 80 jobs for the community, but someone could come along and upset the bid. Once the county receives a deposit from Crown Management, other bidders will have ten days to make a higher offer.

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