WR-Martin Assists with Funding for the Blowing Rock Hospital Expansion Project
Blowing Rock Hospital employs 110 people and is housed in a building that is inefficient, at the end of its useful life, and cannot be upgraded to meet current needs. The rural region that is served by the medical facility (Watauga, Ashe, Avery and Caldwell Counties in NC and Johnson County, Tennessee) was at risk of losing this facility, 110 healthcare jobs, and citizen access to critical healthcare. Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) determined that the region is in need of a new post-acute care facility to ensure continued access to quality healthcare and to retain the healthcare jobs of this facility. ARHS made the decision to build a new post-acute care facility at Chestnut Ridge. A piece of property was purchased for the site that was not yet served by water and sewer infrastructure.
McGill Associates was engaged by the Town to provide engineering and design services to extend water and sewer to the site from the Town of Blowing Rock, enabling the new post-acute care medical facility to connect to municipal utilities. A new sewer pump station will be built and an 8-inch force main sewer extension will be installed from the pump station to the Town’s wastewater treatment plant. In addition, A 12-inch water line will be constructed from Highway 321 to the site.
Due to the high monetary investment required for such a project, WR-Martin was hired as a consultant to seek funding opportunities that could help support this critical infrastructure project. All five counties that constitute this project’s service area are economically distressed and have historically been dependent on tourism. A diversified economic base, which provides sustainable growth, is critical for these local economies to rebound. Therefore, building off of and promoting two existing clusters, health care and higher education, the Town is poised to invest in regional infrastructure needed to make this a reality. Advancement of these clusters will be supported through this project and will act as economic engines for continued growth, making this a competitive project for funding agencies.
The project will provide employment opportunities for healthcare workers in the region and retain graduates from the higher education community, providing and them with the opportunity to live and work in the region.
WR-Martin worked with the Town and the following funding agencies to secure funding to make this infrastructure project a reality. WR-Martin identified the potential funding sources, wrote the grant applications, and is administering the grant funds for:
- The NC Rural Economic Development Center (now administered through Rural Economic Development Division of the NC Department of Commerce) $585,495
- Golden LEAF $100,000
- S. Economic Development Administration $426,945
- Town of Blowing Rock is contributing the balance of the $1.4m project
This infrastructure will support the construction of the new regional post-acute care facility which will be major economic development driver for the region. Its completion allows ARHS to retain 110 current jobs and provide employment opportunities for 59 additional new jobs with expansions planned for the future. The project will serve as a catalyst for additional healthcare related businesses in the future and an improved quality of healthcare for residents of the region.
Appalachian Regional Healthcare System’s Chestnut Ridge facility is currently under construction and plans to be opened late summer 2016. The water and sewer infrastructure is currently under construction and will be completed by July 2016.