Camp holds nursing, allied health building groundbreaking

Published 11:17 am Wednesday, February 28, 2024

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College, health care, business, government and community leaders gathered Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 27, at Camp Community College’s Nursing & Allied Health Professions Building for the facility’s groundbreaking ceremony.

CCC Vice President of Academic and Student Development Dr. Tara L. Atkins-Brady opened the event by welcoming everyone to what she described as a new beginning for a new facility at Camp Community College.

First among those slated to deliver remarks was CCC President Dr. Corey L. McCray.

“What an exciting time here at Camp Community College today,” he said. “This has been a time that we’ve been looking forward to for now I think a little less than two years or so. And on behalf of the college, I want to thank you for your attendance today to today’s groundbreaking.”

He conveyed his hope that this was not only an exciting time for the college but also for the community.

“The nursing and allied health industry workforce demand is the highest demand in Virginia and one of the highest in the nation, and this college is the only comprehensive health care training provider between the 95 corridor and what is Tidewater Community College in Virginia Beach,” he said.

He noted that for years, Camp has been attempting to meet this demand using a handful of classrooms on the college’s Franklin campus and at its Suffolk campus.

“However, the date comes back to me because nearly two years ago an opportunity presented itself,” he said. “During an introductory meeting with Steve Stewart, who was the previous owner of this building, he expressed that his business model no longer needed a building of this size to do their work.

“We immediately began to discuss the potential of the college purchasing this building to become the Allied Health & Nursing Building,” McCray continued. “Steve was very generous in his price for the building, and on behalf of the college, I want to express thanks to Steve for his generosity … Steve, thank you!”

Stewart, who is president and CEO of Boone Newsmedia Inc., was present for the ceremony.

Tidewater Publications LLC, which publishes The Tidewater News and related print and digital products, sold the 13,000-square-foot building at 1000 Armory Drive to Paul D. Camp Community College in spring 2023. The facility was sold to the college for $750,000.

McCray noted, however, that the college did not have the funds to make the purchase, even in the face of Stewart’s generous pricing.

“So we turned to our business community, and they stepped up,” McCray said. “I want to take a point of personal privilege to recognize some of our major funders.”

He highlighted Obici Healthcare Foundation, Sentara Obici Hospital, Truist Bank and Hampton Roads Community Foundation.

“And Bon Secours has committed to helping us with nursing, faculty and the like, and so for Bon Secours, thank you!” he said.

He noted that without the support of the aforementioned organizations, “we could not be conducting today’s groundbreaking.”

Then McCray addressed how the facility will be used.

“This building will help to address the workforce needs as well as establish career pathways for members of this community and the region because we’ll be able to educate and train more nurses, more phlebotomy techs, more dental assistants, more certified medical assistants, more certified nursing assistants, etc.,” he said. “In addition, we will offer more classes with alternative instructional delivery methods.

“This will also be a place for our community use, a place that will provide opportunities for partnerships with our K-12 school districts, hospital systems and health care providers for community health initiatives and the like,” he said.

He then made a point to thank people who continue to do the work to make the project a success, first recognizing Camp nursing faculty.

“They have been integral in planning what this facility should look like,” he said. “They’re thinking about what does a hospital environment look like, what does it look like to actually train allied health (professionals) and the like. So I thank you for your leadership on this work.”

He also thanked other Camp leaders and then acknowledged contracting partners in the realm of architecture and construction that will help bring about the end result of the building.

Next to speak was Franklin Mayor Robert “Bobby” Cutchins.

“It’s such a pleasure to be here,” Cutchins said. “On behalf of the City Council of the city of Franklin, I just want to say thank you for what all you’re doing, and we’re very supportive.”

Then, echoing and expanding on some of McCray’s remarks, he also offered a summary of the function and impact the facility will have in the community and the region.

“This is a standalone health professional education training facility in Franklin that will establish the only brick-and-mortar higher education facility with comprehensive health professional education between the 95 corridor to the west and Portsmouth to the east,” he said. “The building will expand the college’s footprint in Franklin and offer increased opportunities for Franklin public school students and its Adult Learning Center to enroll in programs such as nursing, EMS, athletic trainer, dental assistant, phlebotomy technicians and other important health care-related areas.

He also noted that there will be community use opportunities at the facility, like health care screenings and community health awareness events. He said that other hospital doctors’ offices and other health care providers will have more students and programs to choose from while recruiting their workforce in the area.

“While the building is an expansion of the college, it is also intended to be a community asset which can serve all of our areas around us, not just the city of Franklin,” he said. “Growth starts when you start doing things that you aren’t qualified to do, and having the opportunity to come in and learn a trade like this is such a blessing. Education is your best friend, but when you find a trade that becomes your passion and your dedication while continuing your knowledge in that field, then you have what truly matters in life.”

Others offering remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony included Obici Healthcare Foundation President and CEO R. Battle Betts Jr., Sentara Obici Hospital President David Masterson, Bon Secours – Southampton Medical Center President Kim W. Marks and Truist Bank Vice President & Branch Leader Mark Owen.

Among the dignitaries in attendance at the ceremony was U.S. Rep. Jen Kiggans.