• Community leaders looking to renovate, reopen historic health care facility in Memphis

    By: Kirstin Garriss


    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - When Collins Chapel Hospital opened in 1910, it was one of the only health care facilities for African Americans during racial segregation in Memphis. 

    The hospital closed its doors in 1980, but now Mt. Olive Cathedral CME Church is working to reopen them.

    “We wanted to take this building and not have it be a blight in the community but be a light in the community,” said Pastor Peris Lester.

    FOX13 toured the old hospital Monday afternoon. 

    Lester said the church has poured nearly $3 million into the project since 2014. Most of it has been donations but they still need $2 million more to complete the renovations. 

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    They also need a new vision and a community partner. Lester said they've asked the city and county for funding. 

    Since the building started as a hospital, he wants the facility to continue offering health services.

    “We looked at in terms of it being a nursing home, hospice care – anything that can provide some service into the community,” he said. 

    Lester said church members are meeting with Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris along with other faith leaders Friday to discuss the best use for the facility.

    The meeting will start at 2:30 p.m. at the old hospital located at 409 Ayers Street. 

    After the church finalizes a vision and finds a partner, Bishop Henry Williamson, Sr. – chair of the project – hopes to have construction complete over the next year and a half.

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