REGIONAL VIEW southwest virginia

Emory & Henry’s students bring new life to old hospital by Tim Thornton


ventually, the students in Emory & Henry College’s School of

Health Sciences will improve their patients’ health. Right now, they’re improving Marion’s economy. “What we have done in

our office is be the biggest cheerleader we can be for Emory because we see that the potential isn’t just filling up the old hospital,” says Marion Economic Development Director Ken Heath. “The potential is all the ancillary benefits we’re starting to see already – turning Marion from a pretty nice little, sleepy, cool town into a college town and all the benefits that brings.” When Smyth County

Community Hospital moved to new facilities in 2012, some folks worried the old hospital (built in 1965) would become an eyesore at the edge of town. Henderson Graham, a retired dentist, was deter- mined that wouldn’t happen.


Work continues at a brisk pace on many aspects of The Bristol Hotel – but one space on the fifth floor appears ready for guests to check in. The seven- story downtown hotel is under construction and, in advance of next spring’s expected opening, project developers finished out a temporary room to get a sense of how the finished product might appear. One wall features an expansive black and white train photograph while a white comforter is accented by colorful, monogrammed pillows. There is a desk, large screen TV, chairs, lighting, bureau for clothing and a bathroom. (Bristol Herald Courier)

Following the passage of bills in the Virginia General Assembly this year, Richmond-based Dominion Energy is searching for sites in the coalfields of

Photo courtesy Emory & Henry College

Emory & Henry College expects to have 180 students at its Marion campus this fall.

He went to several schools promoting the idea of using the old building to teach new health professionals. Eventu- ally, Emory & Henry, with its campus just 20 miles outside Marion, bought in. “Henderson Graham is

the one I fully credit with this whole shebang,” Heath says. “He was like a bulldog. He grabbed hold of that thing and wouldn’t let go until it thundered.”

Southwest Virginia where it can build a pumped hydroelectric storage facility. Dominion already has a pumped hydroelectric storage facility in Bath County, which it has operated since 1985. The bills authorize electric utilities, such as Dominion or Appalachian Power, to apply to the Virginia State Corporation Commission for permission to construct pumped hydroelectric storage facilities in Virginia’s coalfield region. At least part of the energy stored in such facilities must be generated by renewable resources, the bills state. The legislation encourages companies to establish sites in an abandoned coal mine cavity. (Bristol Herald Courier)

The University of Virginia at Wise announced that students in Tennessee and Kentucky who live within 50 miles of the college will be able to attend paying in-state tuition rates. Previously,

Graham died before

the college’s Marion campus opened. “He got to carry the ball almost to the goal line,” Heath says. The economic development director helped push it across.

The graduate programs of

Emory & Henry’s School of Health Sciences are housed in the former hospital building. The doctor of physical therapy program’s inaugural cohort of 28 students had a white-coat

students from those areas were given a tuition discount, accord- ing to college officials, who said the new incentive will increase enrollment and makes sense geographically. (Bristol Herald Courier)

U.Va.-Wise will receive $3.5 million from the University of Virginia to increase enrollment in targeted programs at the college and to create a robust culture of entrepreneurship and innovation in the region. The Wise Innovation Ecosystem received the funding from the University of Virginia’s Strategic Investment Fund. The major- ity of the funds will support a Center for Innovation, including the hiring of a professor of entrepreneurship, a professor of cyber-MIS, a center manager and operation costs, including startup scholarships, student internships, an entrepreneurship boot camp, a cybersecurity symposium, an

ceremony in June, marking the beginning of their final year in the program. That year is devoted to clinical study. A month earlier, the 30 members of the college’s first class of physician assistants donned white coats, beginning a 27-month curriculum. While they’re learning and supporting the local economy, students also are getting experience and helping locals through the Mel Leaman Free Clinic at Emory & Henry, the Obesity Research Center and the Falls Prevention Center. Those programs, plus the

master’s program in occupa- tional therapy, have brought 120 students to the Marion campus. The college expects to increase that number to 180 this fall. Heath says the college expects to bring in hundreds more. “They’ve got some big dreams,” he says, “and I’m dreaming right along with them.”

entrepreneurial certificate pro- gram and the student innovation center. (News release)


The following staffers were honored for 20 or more years of service at University of Virginia’s College at Wise in Wise County: Kimberly Belcher (20 years); Mary Calhoun, Ken Hale, Tammy Jessee, Laura Pritchard and Ronald Shortt (25 years) and Brenda Crabtree (35 years). (News release)

Meghan Carty has accepted the position of corpo- rate manager, purchasing and pricing, at Bristol- based Strongwell Corp. She has

worked for the company since 1999, most recently as pricing manager. (News release)

Jeffrey McClellan has been named industrial division manager at Que- senberry’s Con- struction in Big Stone Gap.

McClellan previously served as project manager of the capital maintenance program for the Columbia Pipeline Group in Charleston, W.Va. (News release)

Lydia Sinemus has accepted the position of man- ager of Virginia operations human resources and environmental, health and safety

at Strongwell. Sinemus has a wide range of experience, hav- ing worked in the private sector and for the state of Virginia. (News release)


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