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Century-old gravesite find forces Mississippi school to rethink expansion project

The University of Mississippi Medical Center may have to find alternate sites for its expansion after surveyors discovered as many as 2,000 century-old graves on its campus in Jackson.

“None have names,” Dr. James Keeton, the dean of the medical school, told The Clarion Ledger.

The school was planning various construction near its dental school, but the projects may now have to relocate because of the find. The cost of the reburials would be about $3 million, the report states, which the school says it cannot afford. The projects affected by the find include a garage, lodge and Children’s Justice Center, the report said.

About 1,000 of the bodies are believed to belong to former patients at the Mississippi State Lunatic Asylum about 100 years ago, the report said. Some of the other bodies are believed to belong to former slaves, TB victims and potentially fighters from the Civil War.

The Mississippi State Lunatic Asylum opened in 1855 and its name was changed to Mississippi State Insane Hospital in 1900. The facility was moved in 1935.

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