East TN State TB Hospital Announced (1944)

Knoxville Chalks up Victory

State Commission Puts Main Section, 300 Beds, Here

Knoxville Journal, April 23, 1944 [page not indicated on clipping; page 1 inferred]

The main section of the East Tennessee State Tuberculosis Hospital will be located at the present site of the Beverly Hills Sanitorium [sic] here, the State Tuberculosis Commission announced at Nashville yesterday.  Chattanooga was offered a surgical unit, and there was belief that Knoxville also would receive one.

The commission allocated $500,000 for the construction of a 300-bed hospital here, which will be in addition to present 150-bed facilities, Dr. Herbert Acuff, chairman of Beverly Hills Operating Committee and president of the Tennessee Tuberculosis Association said.

Dr. Acuff Recalls Bill

“It is a great consolation to me that the commission took this action,” Dr. Acuff said, recalling that 17 years ago he helped lead a fight which resulted in the passage by the legislature of a bill appropriating funds for state hospitals.  The bill, however, was vetoed by the late Gov. Austin Peay.

The taking over of Beverly Hills by the state also was one of the goals of The Knoxville Journal, which several years ago pointed out it offered an opportunity to place under state control and state appropriation a function for which the city and county here each were putting up at least $40,000 annually.

The commission’s announcement from Nashville also said it had decided to allocate $250,000 toward construction of a surgical unit in the Chattanooga area contingent upon Chattanooga and Hamilton County appropriating not less than $100,000 plus a suitable site.  Chattanooga and Hamilton County had made strenuous efforts to obtain the hospital.

The Knox County Tuberculosis Association’s offer of Beverly Hills – valued at $250,000, plus the sanitarium’s Jersey herd, valued at $50,000, and appropriations of $50,000 each from Knoxville and Knox County, was accepted by the state, Dr. Acuff said.

Beverly Hills has been operated since 1924, Dr. Acuff added.

He also pointed out it is understood the state has $1,000,000 to spend on tubercular hospital facilities in East Tennessee and that yesterday’s announcement by the commission leaves the hope $250,000 not accounted for in the statement from Nashville by Dr. R. H. Hutcheson, state health commissioner, will be expended on a surgical unit here.

“I feel sure the commission will place a surgical unit here,” Dr. Acuff added.

Construction can start any time materials can be obtained and the commission desires to proceed, Dr. Acuff said, but operation by the State must wait until the 1945 General Assembly provides funds for this purpose.

During the meeting the commission also approved architectural contracts for the West Tennessee State Hospital in Memphis.

Members of the commission at the Nashville meeting included Gov. Cooper, Dr. R. H. Hutcheson, State Public Health Commissioner, State Sen. J. H. Ballew and Dr. O. W. Hyman, dean of the Medical School of the University of Tennessee in Memphis.  James J. Broome, speaker of the House of Representatives and fifth member of the commission, was not present.  Dr. R. A. Gass, director of the Division of Tuberculosis Control of the State Department of Health, also was present.  Governor Cooper made a simultaneous announcement of the decisions in Nashville, Associated Press reported.

Dr. J. S. McCallie, president of the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce, here with J. U. Nichols, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, to present the city, was called into the conference to present arguments in behalf of Chattanooga.  No Knoxville representative was present.

McCallie had urged the commission to locate the hospital in Chattanooga because Chattanooga “has a higher death rate from tuberculosis than any city in the state, is the only major city in Tennessee in which there is no state institution, has met the prescribed terms and will continue to maintain Pine Breeze sanitorium [sic] in addition to the $225,000 we are willing to invest in a state institution.

Knoxville had requested the hospital to be located here because “of the strategic location.”

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