The Knoxville City Council has paved the way to allow Lincoln Memorial University to set up a satellite campus at the site of the Old St. Mary's hospital in North Knoxville.
Council members passed the resolution Tuesday night, but the move still hinges on the final sale of the former Physicians Regional Medical Center site. LMU leaders said their renovation could begin in January.
The LMU campus would teach nursing, business and criminal justice students in the hospital's Magdalene Clark Tower.
In a Monday press release, city officials said LMU's partnership was a "win-win," as the city had no use for the tower. They said demolishing the tower would have cost $700,000.
The city intends on renovating and repurposing the site, most notably to bring Knoxville police and fire headquarters, pension office and courts into one singular safety center.
The city is nearing its anticipated December closing date on the property, and said it hopes to begin construction on the new KPD/KFD headquarters this coming Spring with a goal of moving in by the end of 2021.
The city voted back in May to purchase much of the former site of St. Mary's Hospital in North Knoxville to make way for the new public safety complex after PRMC closed in Dec. 2018.
City officials said their development plan for the site will cost a total of $46.5 million. $40 million of the sum will be used to retrofit some of the site's medical buildings. The other $4.6 million is planned to clear the site's northern end for private redevelopment.
City officials added that the iconic 1930-era hospital building will be preserved.