Medfield State Hospital

10/20/18 MSH Walking Tour (1 pm)

John Thompson, Chair of the MSH Buildings and Grounds Committee, will be leading a walking tour of the MSH property on Saturday, October 20, 2018, at 1:00 pm. The tour will leave from the Service Road entrance, across from the sledding hill, on Hospital Road. It will last for approximately two hours. John will lead a general tour of the property and provide some history of mental health treatment in the 20th century. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and bring water. There are no facilities on site. Parking is available at the departure site.

9/15/18 Medfield Day - Please visit Booth #80 

8/20/18 Master Plan

Preferred Master Plan for Medfield State Hospital Released

The Medfield State Hospital Master Planning Committee is pleased to announce the release of the Medfield State Hospital Strategic Reuse Master Plan for the State Hospital site after four years of intensive effort. 

Residential, cultural, commercial, retail, and recreational uses are incorporated into the plan.  Key features include:

  • diverse housing types addressing needs for seniors, down-sizers, millennials, and affordability;
  • restoration and reuse of almost all of the existing buildings;
  • maximizing open space and vistas;
  • buildings and open area for a cultural hub; and
  • space designated for a recreational and athletic complex.

The plan balances the priorities and desires of the Community with the economic and financial objectives of minimal impacts on school and Town services, minimal effects on property tax rates, and the potential for profitable development from the investor’s perspective.

Medfield State Hospital Master Plan Committee - Transmittal Letter

Executive Summary

Medfield State Hospital Strategic Reuse Master Plan

Map of the Preferred Scenario


Draft MSH District Zoning

6/12/18 Joint Meeting with MSHMPC, Board of Selectmen, Planning Board, and Warrant Committee.

Click HERE for meeting materials consisting of:

  • Executive Summary
  • Map of the preferred scenario
  • Presentation for 12 June (with notes)
  • Master Plan Table of Contents

6/10/18 MSH Walking Tour - Stay tuned for additional dates Newsletter Sign-up 

John Thompson, Chair of the MSH Buildings and Grounds Committee, will be leading a walking tour of the MSH property on Sunday, June 10, 2018, at 10 am. The tour will leave from the Service Road entrance, across from the sledding hill, on Hospital Road. It will last for approximately two hours. John will lead a general tour of the property and provide some history of mental health treatment in the 20th century. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and bring water and sunscreen/raincoats. There are no facilities on site. Parking is available at the departure site.

Please contact Sarah Raposa, Town Planner, with any questions or requests for information.

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Agenda Center for 2017 & 2018 MSHMPC Meetings: Click Here

Archived 2014 - 2016 MSHMPC Minutes: HERE

Committee Members

State Hospital Advisory Committee (SHAC, pre-2014)  SHAC Meeting Minutes

  • Stephen Nolan
  • Ken Richard
  • Scott Colwell
  • Jim Rohnstock
  • John Harney
  • Bob Ingram
  • Kerry McCormack
  • Gus Murby
  • Ros Smythe
  • Alec Stevens 
  • Gil Rodgers
  • Marc Verreault

MSH Master Planning Committee (MSHMPC, 2014-present)

  • Stephen Nolan, Chair
  • Patrick Casey
  • Brandie Erb
  • Teresa James
  • Randy Karg
  • Gil Rodgers

MSHMPC Resource Committee Members:

  • Lucille Fisher
  • John Harney
  • Bill Massarro
  • Jean Mineo
  • John Thompson

Master Plan

The vision for the redevelopment of the Medfield State Hospital is intended to reflect the values of the Medfield Community.  The redeveloped site should also be a resource to residents of other surrounding towns.  To that end, the goal is to collect input from residents regarding their values and to understand the impact that those values might have on the ultimate vision for the property.

In November 2014, the Town, acting through its Medfield State Hospital Master Planning Committee, put out a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to hire a consulting team to prepare a Strategic Reuse Master Plan for the Medfield State Hospital Core Campus and Sledding Hill plus adjacent Town-owned properties. The work will include:

  • Evaluation of existing resources
  • Public participation program
  • Conceptual land use scenario development
  • Evaluation of financial implications for the Town
  • Zoning and design guidelines development
  • Implementation program and funding resources
  • Preparation of developer RFP package for disposition or development

Work is ongoing on the Master Plan.

The master planning process will build upon the work that the Medfield State Hospital Advisory Committee used leading up to the Town Meeting vote to purchase the property:

  • Medfield Day 2013 
  • Medfield Day 2014
  • Land Disposition Agreement with Plan
  • Surveys and polls 
  • Public comment
  • Facebook page
  • A brainstorming workshop for town departments and officials, which was held on December 12, 2013, and is summarized here.
  • Public brainstorming workshop which was conducted on January 11, 2014 with the assistance of the strategic planning firm Howard/Stein-Hudson and the landscape architecture firm Dodson & Flinker.  You can view the presentation slides here.
  • A public vote on the plan at Town Meeting on March 10, 2014 in which the warrant articles related to purchase of the property from the state passed with near unanimous support.
  • A public vote at the Town Election on March 31, 2014, in which the measure to authorize the borrowing needed for the purchase passed overwhelmingly.
  • The final report from the visioning process is available here.
  • Medfield Day 2015
  • Community Workshop June 2016
  • Developers Roundtable August 2016
  • Catalyst meetings with various organizations and developers
  • MSHMPC Community Presentation April 2016 (youtube video)
  • Medfield Day 2016 (posters)
  • Community Open House February 2017 - scroll down for summary, plans, and documents
  • Community Workshop May 2017 - scroll down for summary, plans, and documents
  • Medfield Day 2017 - scroll down for summary, plans, and documents


Here are links to various maps regarding the MSH Property

This map shows the various parcels involved in the Master Planning activity, including the core campus, the sledding hill, Lot 3, the Hinckley Property, and McCarthy Park.  Also shown are parcels retained by the state (including the main agricultural fields on parcels A1 and A2) as well the surrounding neighborhoods.

This map shows the natural resources at the site, including wetlands, flood zones, agricultural areas, trails, etc.

This map shows the historic resources at the site, including the names of the buildings and their relative condition or structural soundness.  Also noted are whether each building is a “contributing” or “non-contributing” historic asset.

This map shows the site in the larger context of the northwest quadrant of Medfield as well as surrounding towns.

This map shows the “shared concept plan” that was developed out of the January 11, 2014 Visioning Session that was held at the Center.  The afternoon portion of the session had participants break up into groups that each outlined a conceptual plan for the redevelopment of the site.  The plan posted here represents a combination of the shared themes that were present among the various groups.  It is not the final plan for the site.

Here is a composite aerial image of the property with each building labeled as of 2014.  Buildings that have been demolished are also noted.

This map shows buildings that might potentially be demolished under a redevelopment of the site.  The current buildings on the site are condemned because they have not been maintained since the hospital was shut down.

This map shows the utility infrastructure that is in place at the hospital.  Redevelopment of the site could make use of the existing infrastructure if it is cost effective to do so.

This map from 2005 includes two pages of details regarding zoning, parcel conveyance, and other items.  It’s important to note that this map is not up to date.

This map shows an outline of the state hospital property as well as an overlay of land that was identified as “prime agricultural soil”.

Medfield Day 2017

Draft Preferred Use Scenario Concept Plan 

Highlights of the main benefits to the Town of Medfield from the Preferred Scenario for Medfield State Hospital
  • Maintains the original character and design of the site with additional open space including the surrounding farmlands.
  • Preserves the “Great Lawn” in the front of the site along Hospital Road and creates a large “Town Square” on the North Side of the central campus.
  • Restores most of the historically and architecturally significant buildings, and proposes repurposing buildings for current and future uses.
  • Provides a central location for a cultural/historical /arts center utilizing the Lee Chapel and some of the surrounding buildings.
  • Designates an area for a recreational/sports complex on the backside of the land across Hospital Road while preserving Sledding Hill for open space and passive recreation.
  • Helps address the 40B issue by significantly adding to the Affordable Housing inventory for Medfield.
  • Provides senior housing on properties near the Senior Center and Kingsbury Club, and on the core campus such as Buildings #16, 17, 18, 19, 20, and 21.
  • Removes several of the buildings that are architecturally inconsistent with the original plan or are beyond restoration.
  • Includes retail and commercial space to diversify economic base for Medfield.
  • Keeps control of the property under Medfield but does not place Town in responsible position as the master developer.
  • Keeps and enhances the trees, shrubs, and unique landscape features.
  • Provides access to the Charles River Gateway Outlook, canoe/kayak launch site, and extensive connecting trail systems.
Rationale for Key Aspects of Preferred Plan

Basis for Overall Plan 

  • Responsive to Goals and Objectives, community inputs, Land Disposition Agreement, Memorandum of Understanding with Mass Historic, multiple consultants’ recommendations and analyses, analyses of other hospital reuse plans, and financial/economic modeling and analyses
  • Extensive inputs from community gained through market research reports, multiple surveys, open meetings and workshops, many site tours, weekly news articles, videos on Medfield TV, and newspaper articles

Arts/Historical/Culture Center

  • Lee Chapel is the most distinguishing, iconic building on the hospital grounds
  • Addresses strong community interests in arts, music, dance, and theater
  • Positions Medfield as a cultural center for the region
  • Provides badly needed performance and exhibition space
  • Combines Chapel with nearby buildings such as Infirmary and Canteen (Buildings # 24, 25, and 26)
  • Additionally, Buildings 22 and 23 could be used for artist live/work space

Senior and Affordable Housing on Hinkley Farm and Lot #3 Ice House Road

  • Very high priority in  Medfield is providing moderate priced and affordable housing for seniors and down-sizer's
  • Convenient proximity to Medfield Senior Center, Kingsbury Club and downtown Medfield
  • Location of sports/recreational complex more suitable off south side of Hospital Road adjacent to the McCarthy Field playing fields
  • Best use for currently under-utilized property currently owned by Medfield
  • Close to existing installed utilities such as water, sewer, & telecomm minimizes infrastructure costs
  • Should be one of the first properties to proceed with development

Mixed-use Housing on Perimeter of Core Campus

  • Helps meet Medfield needs for diversified housing -- affordable, moderate-priced, millennial, inclusive, and senior housing
  • Best use for existing buildings given their interior designs and structural layouts
  • Offers viable uses for preserving buildings necessary for financial feasibility and obtaining tax credits
  • Federal and state tax credits appear to be an absolute necessity to make the project work financially.

Large Town Square Area on North Side of Core Campus

  • Large Town Square for informal social and event gatherings, recreation, open space, walking, bicycling, dog walking, etc.
  • Space is very large -- approximately the size of several football fields
  • Formed by demolition of huge Food Services Building (Building #27B) that is out of character with rest of campus
  • Use “wings” of Building 27A and Central section for commercial uses  such as farm-to-table restaurant and small shops

Small Cottages on Southeast Quadrant (near Stonegate Entrance)

  • Demolishes most if not all of the existing, mainly dilapidated cottages beyond restoration
  • Preserves the existing huge oak and maple trees and special species in this area
  • Provides excellent eastern views of the open hay fields
  • Should be one of the first parcels to develop
  • Close to Hospital Road for good access
  • Near utilities such as water, sewer, electric, natural gas, and telecomm

Senior Living (Buildings # 16-21)

  • Need for senior and “down-sizer” housing accommodations including independent living, assisted living, CCRC, and other resident models and designs
  • Possibly interconnect buildings to improve functionality of building space  (e.g., #18, 19, and 20)

Buildings on West Side of Campus Facing Charles River

  • Inn being proposed for large West Hall (Building #2) with views of Charles River, large open fields to the west
  • Medfield and surrounding area needs local hotel accommodations
  • Commercial space being considered for Building # 7 and #10 to diversify economic base as source of additional tax revenues

Remove R Building (Building #13)

  • Propose demolition as building out of architectural character with remainder of core campus
  • Opens-up beautiful fields to the north looking towards Dover and Medfield Town Forest
 Extend buildings (Building #11 – 15) along northern edge of campus for improved functionality and marketability

May 24, 2017 Community Meeting

On May 24, 2017, the committee held an open house at the Blake Middle School (agenda).  The goal was to present two “semi-finalist” scenarios based on the outcome of the February 7, 2017 open house.  The slides from this presentation are available here.

We are HERE in the process. 

Scenario 1 Town Square

Scenario 2 Rural Village

"Scenario Dashboard" (handout) - highlights the features of each scenario

Informational Display Boards

Attendees broke into small discussion groups to discuss the features of Scenarios 1 and 2 and assess as to the objectives established by the Select Board and the MSHMPC that appeared in the 2015 Town Report. The alternative reuse scenarios try to balance competing uses, needs and priorities incorporating the feedback provided in earlier surveys and at the February 2017 Open House.    Small Group Discussion Guidance    Blank Matrix

Summary of Comments at the May 24, 2017 MSH Community Workshop

February 7, 2017 Open House and Survey Results

On Tuesday, February 7, 2017, the committee held an open house (flier) at the Medfield High School and presented four potential scenarios for the public to consider and provide feedback on. Please review the following information:

  • Poster boards describing the four scenarios
    • PARKLAND - A concept dedicated to maximizing public open space f or active and passive recreation and possible future development
    • OPEN SPACE COMMUNITY - A phased development strategy to create a “sense of place” with a mix of moderate-priced and affordable housing and a strong social and market hub around the core campus; priority to open space and recreation, and keeping options open for the future
    • PUBLIC DESTINATION - A mission-driven concept that establishes a regional cultural and historic center to bring social and economic diversity to Medfield (builds on the promising findings of a 2016 cultural feasibility study of the
      hospital site)
    • CARE & COMMUNITY - A redevelopment concept with a
      diverse mix of housing; multiple private enterprises, including senior and disability care; and a small commercial center. The goal of this concept is to maximize the economic potential of the property in a community setting

The survey results from our February 2017 open house event are available in compiled format here.

If you would like to see the raw format of the survey responses, you can review them here as a pdf document and here in MS Excel format.

Building Condition and Demolition Studies

Here are links to various studies and reports regarding the hospital property.  The studies contained on this page primarily deal with the condition of the buildings on the campus and the possible costs to remediate and demolish some or all of the buildings.

Lozano Baskin and Associates completed a comprehensive study of the building conditions in 2003.  The scanned copy of this document is about 40MB and is therefore too large for this website to support as a single document.  To allow downloads of the entire study, the document is available in five parts, each under 10MB:  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.

One of the scenarios being evaluated by the MSHMPC is the “non-development scenario.”  This is a reference point or baseline to compare to other scenarios in terms of impact (cost and otherwise) to the town.  The non-development scenario would involve the removal of all buildings and the return of the site to open land with no planned use.  More details about this scenario can be found here.

The engineering firm C3 was hired to update the findings of the Lozano Baskin Study.  This study looked at four buildings that are part of the core campus to see how their condition has changed since 2003.  With 11 years of elapsed time with minimal maintenance, no heat, and no occupancy, the condition of the buildings have deteriorated.  A final version of this study is available here and supplemental data regarding the firm’s professional opinion on cost to demolish or rehab buildings are provided here and here.

In November, 2014, Gil Rodgers compiled his notes from various sources to provide this memorandum of potential demolition costs for buildings at the former MSH site.  This includes the experience of DCAMM at MSH and other sites, the experience of demolition contractors, and others.

The firm CDW completed a 2009 study detailing the options regarding demolition of the Clark Building.  This demolition was completed in 2012.  The Clark Building was located right in the front of the core campus on Hospital Road, near the current security trailer.  An update with the actual demolition costs will be forthcoming shortly.

Other Studies

This page provides links to various studies that deal with subjects other than the condition of the buildings and probable demolition costs.

The town commissioned a cultural feasibility study for up to three buildings at the State Hospital, with funding matched by the MA Cultural Facilities Fund. Read the market analysis and financing and operations pro formas by ArtsMarket here and read the building analysis and cost estimates by DBVW Architects here (and presentation to MSHMPC here).

Gil Rodgers and Jean Mineo presented a slide show that documented the results of investigating several local and regional cultural and performing arts centers, with the goal of determining whether a similar venue could be a financially sustainable anchor point and amenity to the future redevelopment of the MSH site.

A followup to that effort was the creation of a Cultural Visioning Committee, which presentedthis slide show to the Master Planning Committee on April 15, 2015.

The final report that resulted from the 2014 visioning forum that was led by Howard Stein Hudson can be downloaded here.

The town and DCAMM recently presented a revised remediation plan for the waste site called the C&D Area (Construction and Demolition) and the Power Plant area.  The plan was presented to the public in June, 2013 and approved by the Selectmen.  A slideshow that details the plan is presented here.

Jones Lang LaSalle completed a study in 2012 that describes the real estate market conditions in the Medfield area, and contemplates various uses for the hospital property and analyzes the potential suitability and demand that would be expected.

In 2004, Larry Koff & Associates completed a visioning study that contemplated various redevelopment options for the site.

2015 RKG Market Study

Historical Info

Here are links to various interviews, notes, and other sources of background information on the site.

John Harney, Gil Rodgers and Ros Smythe conducted an interview with Tony Calo, who was the former Superintendent of MSH.  The interview covered various aspects of the hospital’s former use and operation.

Gil Rodgers and Ros Smythe compiled notes regarding the former agricultural operations at the hospital.  This interview included information from Tom Sweeney, Darel Nowers, and David Nowers, who were all intimately familiar with the farming operations at MSH.  The document includes pictures of the farming operations.

Gil Rodgers came across an interesting article in his research at the Medfield Historical Society Library.  The article was written by Veronica Hill, RN who was a nurse at MSH from 1952 – 1987.  It is taken from the manuscript “A History of Medfield State Hospital, 1987.”

National Register Information

Community Surveys

Results from Summer 2015 Surveys
Survey 1 Results
Survey 2 Results
Survey 3 Results

Fall 2013 Survey Results (From the former State Hospital Advisory Committee)
In the fall of 2013, SHAC published a comprehensive survey to gather input from the community on the future uses of the former MSH site.  The survey closed on 12/31/13.  The data collected from the survey is available for your review here.  This is essentially the raw data from the 258 responses that were collected, both online and via paper copies.  There are charts and tables with the results.   Also included are all the open ended responses that people had, which are wide-ranging and interesting to review.

Other Documents

A term sheet that outlines the draft of an agreement between the state (DCAMM) and the town was submitted on November 7, 2013, and signed by the Selectmen at their meeting on December 3.  This agreement covers the core campus and the sledding hill parcels, and would allow the town to purchase these parcels from the state for a base price of $3,100,000 for the 134 acres of land and the buildings situated thereon.  While the term sheet has been signed, several additional steps would need to be taken for the purchase to actually move forward.  This includes, among other things, a special Town Meeting vote (STM).

The term sheet also outlines the basics of the Sales Partnership Model.  This model is DCAMM’s proposed methodology for sharing in the potential revenue that the town might gain by selling the MSH land to a developer, should that occur.

A handout that has been prepared by our consultants Howard Stein Hudson for the January 11 public visioning forum has been uploaded here.  The final report that resulted from the visioning forum can be downloaded here.

A flyer has been developed by the committee for distribution to each household in town in advance of the March 10, 2014 Special Town Meeting.  The flyer presents an overview of the town’s option to purchase 134 acres of the State Hospital Property from the commonwealth.

A Powerpoint presentation has been prepared by members of the SHAC in advance of the March 10, 2014 Special Town Meeting.  These slides will be shown at the town meeting, but you can preview the presentation here.

A copy of the Warrant Articles for the March 10, 2014 Special Town Meeting is available for review here.

The committee’s posters from Medfield Day 2016 are available for here.

A detailed explanation of the financial model that has been developed to analyze the various study concepts that are under consideration can be found here.

MSHMPC Medfield.TV Shows

The members of the Medfield State Hospital Master Planning Committee have been putting together informational TV shows with the assistance of Medfield TV.

Click on the links below for each of the various episodes:

Other State Hospitals

This section includes information regarding the reuse of other former State Hospitals throughout the Commonwealth.  The intention of studying these other properties is to learn from the successes and missteps made in other towns.

An overview of the study of the reuse of several other state hospitals in Massachusetts is presented in a summary slide show here.  Further details on some of the former state hospitals is included in the links listed below.

The process, planning, and ultimate redevelopment of the former Northampton State Hospital (located near Northampton in central Massachusetts) provides a relevant and illustrative case for planning and decisions regarding the Medfield State Hospital site.  Gil Rodgers and Ros Smythe researched this hospital reuse project through meetings and phone calls, reviewing materials posted on websites, and taking two tours of the complex guided by  key people involved with the redevelopment, and have summarized the main findings in the attached set of notes.

Gil Rodgers compiled a comparison of the nearby Foxborough State Hospital redevelopment.  In addition, you can find a copy of the Foxborough Redevelopment Plan, here.

Gil Rodgers and Ros Smythe visited the Tewksbury State Hospital.  Tewksbury State Hospital is an interesting example of a hospital still in full operation that is even older than Medfield State Hospital.  It has retained use of some of its attractive historical buildings and is the home of T.H.E. Farm, a therapeutic equestrian riding center.  Notes on the visit can be found here.

Gil Rodgers and Ros Smythe visited the former Danvers State Hospital and the Boston State Hospital.  Notes from the visit to Danvers can be found here, while notes from Boston can be found here.

The MSH Advisory Committee has also studied the zoning changes that accompanied the redevelopment of the former Danvers State Hospital. The relevant bylaw can be found here.

Zoning bylaws for Danvers, Foxborough, Northampton, and Westborough may be viewed here; also included is a glossary of planning terms. A slide presentation given by the State Hospital Environmental Remediation Committee in 2011 regarding zoning at several State Hospitals, can be found here.  


This page contains information regarding pending or existing legislation / laws with relevance to the redevelopment of the MSH property.

In 2014, after a special Town Meeting vote and a town election, Medfield voted to move forward with the purchase of 134 acres of the former State Hospital Property.  These votes caused our local legislative delegation (consisting of Representatives Garlick and Dooley and Senator Timilty) to introduce a piece of legislation, which was subsequently passed by the house and senate and signed by Governor Patrick.  The final legislation can be viewed here.

In 2008, the Massachusetts Legislature passed an act relating to Medfield State Hospital.  The full text of the act can be found here.  The act provides details regarding how the state (the current owner of the hospital property) may choose to sell or otherwise dispose of the various parcels.

The 2008 legislation built off of previous legislation enacted in 2002, which can be found here.

In 2001, during the Swift administration, and previously during the King administration (1981), Massachusetts developed policies relating to the preservation and maintenance of agricultural land.  These policies specifically discuss the agricultural use of state land holdings that are not needed for other purposes.  You can read the text of these policies here.