A controversial plan to sell the state-owned Spring Grove Hospital Center to the University of Maryland Baltimore County for $1 is on the docket at Wednesday’s Board of Public Works meeting.
Spring Grove is a state psychiatric hospital on a massive, 175-acre campus with 77 buildings in Catonsville. According to the state Department of Health, which runs it, the hospital is the second-oldest, continuously operating psychiatric hospital in the country.
It has 375 in-patient psychiatric beds. The vast majority of patients are “forensic” patients, meaning a court has ordered them to be there.
The hospital is also home to the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, which is part of the University of Maryland and conducts research on treatments for schizophrenia, among other things.
The state has proposed selling the hospital campus to UMBC for $1 — effectively transferring the property to the university for free — and then renting it back for $1 a year for up to 20 years. The lease would end when the state Department of Health decides to vacate the property, which could happen at any point during the lease term.