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Burrell Behavioral Health now wants to use the shuttered School of Professional Psychology at Forest Institute campus for internal uses after failed attempts to sell it.File photo
Burrell Behavioral Health now wants to use the shuttered School of Professional Psychology at Forest Institute campus for internal uses after failed attempts to sell it.

File photo

Burrell seeks rezoning of Forest Institute campus

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Following failed attempts to sell the shuttered School of Professional Psychology at Forest Institute campus, Burrell Behavioral Health last night went to Springfield City Council seeking to rezone the property for internal uses.

Springfield Director of Planning and Development Mary Lilly Smith presented a bill to rezone 53 acres at 2885 W. Battlefield Road to an area of government and institutional use from one that only allows educational and religious uses.

Forest Institute formerly owned the property before it became a subsidiary of Burrell in 2013. Burrell agreed to take on roughly $2 million in debt and later contributed an undisclosed amount of loan funding so the school could close gracefully, leaving students and faculty ample time to find another university or position, Burrell officials told Springfield Business Journal in 2015. Forest Institute was dissolved in fall 2015 when the campus closed.

Since then, Burrell tried to sell the campus by listing it for sale at $5.9 million in fall 2015, followed by an unsuccessful auction last year. Prior to joining up with Burrell, Forest Institute’s campus was listed at $6.4 million in mid-2012.

Geoffrey Butler, who represented Burrell at council last night, said the campus failed to sell because of its strict educational and religious use permits.

“Burrell ended up with the property because of their association with Forest. Forest went under, so they got it. However, they can’t use it and they need to change zoning so they can,” Butler of Butler, Rosenbury & Partners said last night.

Smith said Burrell plans to use the space for administrative offices, its transitions substance abuse treatment program and other future needs.

“They’re consolidating a lot of their administrative offices into this facility and vacating others,” Butler said when reached this morning.

Council is scheduled to vote on the rezoning bill May 15.

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