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Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital Announces Plans for Westhampton School

Former school will become home to health system’s College of Nursing

Dec. 12, 2013 -- Bon Secours Virginia Health System officials today announced that the Westhampton School property at 5800 Patterson Ave., will be anchored by the Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing and the St. Mary’s School of Medical Imaging. The original structure was built in 1917 and a second building was added in 1930. The buildings will be renovated, and all attempts will be made to keep as much of the original structures as possible.

The construction timeline is determinant upon receiving historic designation for the building, approval of special permits and securing historic tax credits from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and the federal government.

“This is truly an exciting time for Bon Secours and for the community – it’s with great excitement that we announce our plans for the Westhampton School property,” said Peter J. Bernard, chief executive officer for Bon Secours Virginia Health System. “Our goal has always been to preserve the integrity of the school, and to be able to keep the continuity of education inside its walls is tremendous.”

Plans for the complex are still under development and will likely include major adjustments to the interior, removal of asbestos and other contaminants, and updating the building for ADA compliance before outfitting it with classrooms, laboratory space, administrative offices and a variety of student meeting and study spaces. Structural analysis and historical review of the property was completed by Richmond-based 3North Architects and Odell Associates. The property developer is Reynolds Development, also a Richmond-based company.

Bernard estimates completion will take up to 36 months. “We expect to begin soon after the required special use permits are approved. In the meanwhile, we will continue to work with 3North, Odell and Reynolds on ensuring the structure will be the best fit for our nursing and medical imaging students and administrators, that it is a facility that will complement the neighborhood and that we meet the historic requirements set by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources,” said Bernard.

For the greater part of the past year, Bon Secours evaluated the building, its structure and the feasibility of keeping the facility intact. The health system also worked with community and neighborhood leadership and City Councilman Jon Baliles to ensure community input was heard.

“The Westhampton School is a historic and important property in this community,” said Toni Ardabell, CEO of St. Mary’s Hospital. “Our intent is to continue to engage the community as we move forward with planning and construction. We consider the property an extension of the St. Mary’s campus and the community a part of our Bon Secours family. We want them engaged.” Bon Secours secured the Westhampton property as part of its agreement with the city of Richmond in sponsorship of the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center. As part of the agreement, Bon Secours also has committed to refurbish and maintain the playing fields currently located on the property as well as upgrade the children’s playground once the Richmond officials decide on a new location.

“The Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing has graduated more than 2,100 new nurses since its inception and has been an integral part of the community for more than 50 years,” said Michael Robinson, CEO of Memorial Regional Medical Center, Richmond Community Hospital and St. Francis Medical Center. Robinson also has oversight of the Memorial College of Nursing. “It’s only fitting that our premier college for nurses be centrally located and in a facility equal to the level and quality of education it provides.”

The College currently enrolls just under 500 students instructed by 24 full-time faculty. The College, which offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools with nursing school accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The St. Mary’s Hospital School of Medical Imaging offers an 18-month certificate program in radiologic technology and is accredited by the Joint Review Commission on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT).

The Westhampton School was built in 1917 and served as both an elementary school and a high school. Annexed by the city of Richmond in 1942, the Westhampton School became a part of the city of Richmond school system. From 1990 to 2009 the facility was home to Richmond Community High School. The school has been vacant since 2009.

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