|The BRMC credo greets visitors to the new waiting area|
Attendees at the December 14 preview reception had lots to explore within the newly constructed, two-story, 28,600-square-foot facility. Past and present board members and friends learned about the pharmacy features, peeked into the exam rooms, and marveled at the large customer waiting area, which includes a designated space for children. And while many had their particular favorite or area of interest, all seemed to agree: the new facility to open this coming month is a vivid expression of this organization’s credo—Caring for Our Community.
The new building culminates a 20-year plan dedicated to consistent expansion of medical services for Nelson County area residents. As Peggy Whitehead, the Blue Ridge Medical Center (BRMC) Executive Director, explained in her welcoming comments: “This structure gives us room to grow, and we have been growing all along.” She recalled the 1985 start of the organization with one doctor and three exam rooms in a modular building. The new building, located adjacent to the existing clinic, increases on-site medical exam rooms from 13 to 25 and allows for the introduction of pediatric services. Further, and to the obvious delight of all gathered that evening, Whitehead explained that the existing clinic would soon be retrofitted into a dental clinic. An enthusiastic welcome was provided for Dr. Susan Seal, the new BRMC dentist.
Among the many dignitaries in attendance was Sarah Jane Stewart, who served as the BRMC’s first executive director. Stewart, who now works for the Virginia Health Care Foundation, marveled at the building and stressed the importance of this benchmark. “Community health care centers like this one represent the future of rural health care,” Stewart suggested. “This type of facility gives Nelson County residents something to be proud of and lends a critical dignity to patients.” During the tour, Whitehead and staff pointed out how patients could now secure private counseling in areas discrete from the waiting room. Further, a Spanish-speaking staff member will be available for consultation as needed.
|BRMC staff led tours and answered questions about the new facility|
Virginia Community Capital (VCC) and our affiliate, Community Capital Bank, provided a short-term bridge loan (in conjunction with the participation of a companion lender, Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises (FAHE) in Berea, Kentucky) and helped to secure New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) for the BRMC expansion. The use of the NMTC played an important role in growing the size of the project along with equipment purchase.
“Walking through the nearly completed halls of the Blue Ridge Medical Center is enormously gratifying,” noted Dawn DeHart, Senior Vice President at VCC, and key loan officer for this collaboration. “Our work with BRMC allows us to participate in the creation of an essential community asset, one that will serve people for years to come. It reminds me of the important work we do at VCC and inspires me to find more ways we might help advance quality of life, especially for our underserved Virginians. We are also very grateful for the role that FAHE played as a companion lender. This NMTC transaction has fostered the continued growth of an important medical facility in a rural community and has allowed us to strengthen our ties with a key lending partner.”