JACKSON, Miss., Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Moving 1,000 or more unmarked graves found on the University of Mississippi Medical Center campus would cost $3 million, school officials say.
The century-old graves are believed to hold the remains of patients from the Mississippi State Lunatic Asylum, that stood at the site from 1855 to 1935, the (Jackson) Clarion-Ledger reported Feb. 9.
School officials had wanted to use the land to build a parking garage but testing revealed a cemetery was located there, the newspaper said.
"None have names," Dr. James Keeton, dean of the medical school, said, adding it would cost about $3,000 apiece to remove the remains. "We can't afford that."
There may be more graves to the west of the university's dental school, likely eliminating that land for expansion purposes as well, the newspaper said.
A third spot, where construction of an $11 million American Cancer Society Hope Lodge is scheduled to be built, also is believed to contain bodies.
UMMC officials now say the lodge and a new Children's Justice Center would likely have to be relocated elsewhere on the 164-acre campus,