7 buildings on hospital grounds proposed for historic designation

Board debates adding other campus structures

April 12, 2002|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

Seven buildings on the Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital campus were recommended for historic designation last night by the Baltimore County Landmark Preservation Commission.

The 15-member board was debating late into the night, however, on whether to honor a request by Towson preservationists to add seven other buildings to the list.

If the recommendation is approved by the County Council, the hospital would need county approval to make any alterations.

The buildings approved for the list last night included the hospital's A and B wings; the Charles Street gatehouse; the Casino building; Norris Cottage and spring house; and a second spring house near the campus power plant.

Preservationists welcomed the decision.

"The only level of protection is to have some level of review by this commission," said Jeff Lees, an area architect who nominated the buildings for the designation as historic.

In addition to the seven buildings, preservationists want seven other structures granted the designation - action that the hospital opposes.

These include the admissions building and connecting wing; the power plant; the receiving building; silos and a barn; a stone bridge; and a shed near Norris Cottage.

Ruth Mascari, chairwoman of the Baltimore County Historical Trust, told the commission that the entire 110-year-old campus on North Charles Street should be deemed historic.

"I think we have to look at the entire collection [of buildings]," Mascari said. "That was the intent of the builders."

Sheppard Pratt officials countered the argument, saying the goal of the founders was to provide health care. The hospital should have the flexibility to use its buildings as it sees fit, an attorney for the hospital said.

"It could hamper this institution to continually evolve to provide those services," said Robert A. Hoffman, attorney for the hospital.

The conflict between the sides has been prompted by recent development on the Sheppard Pratt campus.

Over the past year, Sheppard Pratt has sold 13.7 acres for the construction of six Towson University student apartment buildings. The hospital has also sold 14.5 acres to GBMC Healthcare Inc., parent company of Greater Baltimore Medical Center, for a medical pavilion.

Most recently, Sheppard Pratt announced an ambitious $80 million plan to build an addition and renovate two aging wings of the hospital.

The gatehouse, built in 1861, and the A and B wings, opened in 1891, are listed as national historic landmarks.

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