Eastern State Hospital Move Delayed; Hospital and Community College to Share Site
LEXINGTON, Ky. - A delay in moving Eastern State Hospital to its new facility in Lexington is causing headaches for officials at Bluegrass Community & Technical College. As part of a land swap between the mental hospital, BCTC, and the University of Kentucky, the community college will take over the 48-acre Eastern State property on Newtown Pike.
A new 90,000 square-foot classroom building is already finished and classes are scheduled to begin there in August. But Eastern State won’t make its transition until sometime this fall, meaning patients and students will both be on the Newtown property.
“The plan right now is that our portion of the site will be fenced off and that in fact we will co-locate with the hospital for a short time,” says BCTC President Augusta Julian.
Officials are working through parking and safety issues.
The delay has also pushed back the timeline for demolishing and renovating some old campus buildings, but Julian is excited about what the Newtown Campus will mean for BCTC.
“This will be the first time that we as a college have had a chance to really build from scratch, sort of our own building, our own environment, our own brand.”
Eastern State is one of the oldest mental hospitals in the country. Several dozen human remains were unearthed when construction of the college building began two years ago.
A small cemetery will remain in a far corner of the campus, where a reinterment ceremony will be held on May 14th. Later that day BCTC will host an open house of its new building.