Apr. 19, 2011
Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, part of the Bon Secours Health System, CEO Kevin Halter and Shawnee State University President Rita Rice Morris signed a land transfer agreement on a building at 310 Chillicothe Street in Portsmouth on Friday, April 15. OLBH donated the building to Shawnee State.
"When you have two organizations like these – Our Lady of Bellefonte and Shawnee State – that have missions that match what they want to do for their community, it's a very powerful thing," said Chuck Charles, vice president of OLBH Foundation. "That's what this is all about."
Charles and Halter were joined by Morris and Eric Braun, executive director of SSU's Development Foundation at a press conference announcing the transfer.
"We're always looking for opportunities where we can collaborate and provide not just medical value but also educational value to the community," Halter said. "It's a building we've had since 1994 and as things evolved, we no longer had the need for it so we thought the best use for that would be to partner with Shawnee State."
The building was previously used as a medical supply store. After many years of sitting empty, OLBH made the decision to donate it to Shawnee State because of its reputation for educating quality clinicians through its health sciences programs including nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, respiratory therapy and radiology.
"We're particularly excited about the scholarship," said Eric Braun, executive director of the SSU Development Foundation who administers the scholarship funds. "The Development Foundation will establish the Our Lady of Bellefonte Nursing Scholarship in recognition of Our Lady of Bellefonte's commitment to the development of highly qualified nurses in the community."
The scholarship will provide an annual award in the amount of in-state tuition to students seeking degrees in nursing and eligible students may be seeking an associate degree in nursing or a bachelor of science in nursing.
"We are very excited about the potential for this building," Morris said. "This is an opportunity for us to partner with Our Lady of Bellefonte, and to bring several of our programs closer to the community. It's also an opportunity for us to support the community in efforts to bring more services to the downtown area."
SSU plans to renovate the first floor of the building to offer spirituality and health services in partnership with OLBH. The university also plans to house community-based programs, including the Ohio Appalachian Center for Higher Education (OACHE), a consortium of ten public colleges and universities within the 29-county Ohio Appalachian region, and BASICS, Basic Adult Skills in a College Setting, in the new building and provide additional health programs for the community.