Bon Secours Richmond Announces Change of Plans to Westhampton School Property

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Bon Secours announced today its decision to terminate plans to build the Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing on the Westhampton School property at Libbie and Patterson Avenues.

After extensive due diligence, leaders of the health system made the decision based on an updated estimate Bon Secours received from their architect that nearly doubled the construction costs. A second architectural firm confirmed the higher estimate to be viable. The change in course occurred during the final preparations for submitting permits to the city to relocate the College to the Westhampton property.

Instead, Bon Secours proposes to construct a nBoew College of Nursing on green space located at Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center and desires to utilize the Westhampton School property for the construction of a Medical Office Building (MOB), noting that all future plans are contingent upon Bon Secours securing approvals through its local and corporate boards, as well as obtaining land-use approvals from the city of Richmond.

“The 2013 Performance Agreement with the city of Richmond called for the Westhampton Campus to be a Medical Office Building,” said Toni R. Ardabell, CEO, Bon Secours Virginia Health System. “Returning to this plan would allow us to bring more physicians onto our campus, providing enhanced and seamless care for our patients, this neighborhood and the broader community.”

According to Ardabell, Bon Secours has worked consistently for three years to find a way to renovate the existing buildings on the property in a cost effective manner, to no avail. It has now been determined that the structures would have to be removed to make way for the desired MOB. When new plans for each project are set, Bon Secours will share them with neighborhood associates and other partners.

“It is always our desire and our intent to work with our neighbors and the community when it comes to construction and expansion,” said Ardabell. “That will continue. We also must work within the parameters of our corporate structure and approval process.”

Bon Secours remains committed to its rental agreement with the city of Richmond and will continue with its financial obligation to Richmond Public Schools. To date, $300,000 has been paid as part of the health system’s $100,000 per year for 10 years agreement that will ultimately total $1 million.

 “While this is a change in plans, it presents the College of Nursing with new opportunities, allowing us to build a state-of-the-art facility within our budget,” said Melanie H. Green, PhD, RN, vice president and provost, Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing.

Additional investments by Bon Secours beyond the Performance Agreement include relocating the playground; maintaining the playing field adjacent to the school; replacing more than 500 broken window panes; repainting cracked and peeling window and door frames; landscaping and other repairs and maintenance. Bon Secours will continue maintenance and upkeep of the Westhampton School property during the transition phase.

“We appreciate the support we have had from the city, local merchants, and most importantly, the neighborhood associations surrounding St. Mary’s,” continued Ardabell. “We look forward to the success of our future collaborations.”