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Former Hospital Has a Potential Buyer

BUTLER TOWNSHIP — The former Saint Catherine Medical Center Fountain Springs in Schuylkill County could soon be home to a new facility. The hospital, whic...
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BUTLER TOWNSHIP -- The former Saint Catherine Medical Center Fountain Springs in Schuylkill County could soon be home to a new facility.

The hospital, which is more than 130 years old, closed back in 2012 when it filed for bankruptcy.

That's also when the State Department of Health revoked the hospital's license and more than 100 employees were out of work.

Since 2012, trustee William Schawb has been looking for a buyer, and two and a half years later, there's an offer.

Ashland Properties, LLC is offering $550,000 for the property in Butler Township.

"It's better than the building being empty, but I think they gave it away," said James McGinley, who walks around the property every day.

The possible buyer is an affiliate of Sovereign Health Group out of California which runs drug, alcohol, and mental health rehab centers.

Schawb said the buyer plans to spend $4-5 million to renovate the former hospital and open up an east coast rehab facility.

Bob Keener lives across the street from the former hospital.  He said, "It's a small concern, but I'm not really worried about it. I think it will work out. I expect these people aren't going to be out loose, running the streets. "

Other residents who leave near Saint Catherine's said they're not really worried about the fact that a drug and alcohol facility would be moving across the street. They said the bigger worry is the big, empty building.

"The building sitting there empty, you're always concerned with vandalism and deterioration of the property. Just land values and everything else," said Keener.

Schawb said the potential buyer would like to open the rehab facility using the former buildings and also plans to hire about 200 people to run the new center.

"It will be good for the area and good for the people," said McGinley.

The sale still has to be approved by a bankruptcy judge in Wilkes-Barre.

The trustee for Saint Catherine said he expects the judge to hold another hearing on the sale by the end of the year.