Ephraim McDowell purchases former KSD land

Ephraim McDowell Health Inc. has purchased 3.49 acres of downtown property from Danville, but it doesn’t have definite plans for the site yet.

EMH purchased the former Kentucky School for the Deaf property, which was the location of Walker Hall at the corner of Second Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard, for $900,000, according to a recent deed filed in the county clerk’s office. Danville bought the property last fall from the Commonwealth of Kentucky for $890,000 as the “purchasing agent” for another entity that would be announced at a late date. Recently, Danville also had the vacant Walker Hall building demolished.

Dan McKay, President and CEO at Ephraim McDowell Health said last week, “We are extremely happy to have closed on the KSD property this week. We will be meeting with architects in the coming weeks to discuss options for the land. We have several ideas, but we will need to determine how to best utilize the space to further our mission of providing excellent health care for the communities we serve.”

However, McKay declined to say what any of the options that EMH was considering for the property.

But the site’s development won’t start soon. McKay added, “Whatever is decided, the development of this property is probably three years out.”

Jody Lassiter, president and CEO of the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership, said he was very pleased that EMH is making plans to enlarge its footprint in downtown Danville. “The regional medical Center is a significant driver of employment, traffic, visitors, and affiliated medical services downtown. As a result, the EMRMC is an anchor for downtown Danville’s prosperity.  In similar cities where hospitals have relocated to the bypass or commercial corridor outside of downtown, the hospital has left a large hole difficult to fill not only physically but economically.”

The Kentucky Board of Education listed the Walker Hall property as surplus in December 2019 based on the recommendation of the Operations Management Committee.

Former board chair Hal Heiner said the building had not been used for 10 years and would be easy to partition off of campus because of its location. The back of the property faced Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center on Third Street and sits across from CVS.

Danville purchased the state’s surplused property in the fall of 2020.