Sentara donates $450K to renovate Camp facility

Published 4:40 pm Friday, August 11, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The 13,000-square-foot facility, which was the longtime home of The Tidewater News, was sold by Tidewater Publications LLC to the college for $750,000 earlier this year.

The check presentation took place at the facility, with key representatives from the college, Sentara, the Virginia Community College System and the community present.

CCC Vice President of Academic and Student Development Dr. Tara Atkins-Brady opened the event by saying, “It’s my pleasure to welcome you today to the future home of our state-of-the-art education and training facility for our programs in nursing, allied health and for programs that we don’t even have yet but that this building will make possible. And we are so excited.”

Email newsletter signup

In his remarks at the presentation ceremony, Camp Community College President Dr. Corey L. McCray reminded everyone that health care is at the top of the workforce demand in Virginia and the U.S.

“There’s no place better than Franklin, Virginia, and the Western Tidewater region that exemplifies this need for health care workers,” he said. “Through our work with hospital systems, positions offices, emergency responders and the community at large, we are reminded of this need for more health care workers every day.”

He noted that up until now, a few classrooms on Camp’s Franklin and Suffolk campuses have doubled as classrooms and lab spaces for health care programs, and the college has even partitioned off library space to make room for more health care instruction.

“However, today marks the beginning of a change in Camp’s ability to respond to the health care demand signaled through the generosity of our partners at Sentara,” he said. 

He called for a round of applause in Sentara’s honor, and one promptly followed.

“While we are deeply appreciative of Sentara’s partnership with clinicals and experiential learning for our students, today it is in part because of Sentara’s generosity that we will renovate this building to offer more sessions of our current scheduled health care program while providing an expanded set of credit courses offering workforce development programs such as behavioral health, physical therapy and paramedics here in this facility,” he said. 

“I will tell you that this building is going to allow us to expand our student credentials by about 200 a year,” he continued. “This is going to be significant. In addition to that, we’re also going to add health care programs, and this will be a flexible learning space. It will not just be for those seeking a degree or a certificate. It will also be for short-term workforce preparation as well.

“And so this space is going to be one of many that will allow us to respond to our health care industry and our community needs,” he added. “So once again, on behalf of this college, on behalf of all of our students in our communities, I want to thank Sentara for their generosity.”

Virginia Community College System Chancellor Dr. David Doré said, “When Dr. McCray told me that they were going to do the check presentation today, I said I’ve got to come down in person to say ‘thank you’ in person to Sentara.”

He shared a few thoughts about how important the $450,000 donation is, not just to CCC but also to the entire VCCS.

Alluding to plans for the future of the VCCS, he said, “One of the most important priorities is really a realignment of our entire system to really scale to the needs of Virginia, and there is no more important sector to Virginia than the health care sector.

“So we will be launching I think a pretty bold vision of really meeting the demand of the health care sector in Virginia. And organizations like Sentara, I think we’re going to have even deeper partnerships,” he added. “On behalf of my state board and the whole system, thank you so much.”

Just before the check presentation, Sentara Obici Hospital President David J. Masterson shared details on what helped prompt the donation.

“Having worked in health care for the last three decades, I can tell you that the need for more health care workers has never been more prominent,” he said. “We need more health care workers out there. I think your concentration on behavioral health and your concentration on paramedicine, as we call it today, is right in line with where the needs are out in the community.”

He noted that a lot of people come to Sentara’s hospitals, but Sentara discovered a while ago that it makes more sense for it to meet people on their terms where they are. 

“So if we can reach out into the communities and take good care of people and keep them from coming to the hospital, all the better,” he said.

He explained that he is proud to work for Sentara, because though it has to run as a business, it has not lost sight of the importance of giving back to the community, which it does through Sentara Cares.

“The funding that we’re bringing back to the community actually came from the community to begin with,” he said. “And we appreciate all that you do for us. In exchange, we look forward to great partnerships and continuing to support Paul D. Camp Community College and all the efforts they have.”

He said, “Anything that we can do to continue to support you in your quest to bring more people to us, we are happy to help.”

He also expressed appreciation for partners from Bon Secours – Southampton Medical Center, and he conveyed thanks to everyone present at the presentation ceremony for supporting Sentara.

“Thank you all for inviting us today,” he said. “We’re very excited to see the new building. We heard about it a year ago, it was a dream, and now you’re making it happen, so congratulations.”

Following the check presentation, Dr. Angela Sheaffer, CCC’s dean of nursing and allied health, led attendees on a brief walking tour of the building, sharing details on what will be happening there in the future.