GAFFNEY, S.C. (courtesy limestone.edu) — Limestone University’s plan to provide a state-of-the-art Nursing and Health Sciences facility took a major step forward recently thanks to a major gift from the Timken Foundation of Canton.
Plans call for the former A.J. Eastwood Library building to be converted into the new home for Limestone’s new and fast-growing programs that support the health professions. The recently constructed Hines & Riggins Center on campus now contains Limestone’s library, as well as its student center and other student-centered amenities. That has provided the University with the opportunity to renovate the 13,000-square-foot former library building to include labs, technology, and classrooms that are essential to prepare its graduates to enter the healthcare workforce.
The Timken Foundation has committed $250,000 toward the estimated $2.6 million renovation project. The plans for the previous library building include first-floor modifications to construct doctors’ offices, labs, control rooms, and a student lounge. The second-floor renovations will generate classrooms, offices, and conference rooms. In addition, the ground floor will be refurbished to create a central location for Limestone’s Testing Center.
“This gift from the Timken Foundation will have a lasting impact on our campus, our county, our state, and this region of the country,” said Limestone President Dr. Darrell Parker. “We sincerely appreciate this Timken Foundation investment in Limestone and our students. South Carolina continues to face a shortage of doctors and nurses. The development of Limestone’s Nursing and Health Sciences programs will go a long way toward addressing the shortage. This generous contribution will ultimately improve the quality of healthcare for generations to come.”
The Timken Foundation came into existence when H.H. Timken, then the company’s president, and his siblings determined philanthropy in cities where the company operated would strengthen both the community and the bond with workers while also attracting new employees and their families to that area. The foundation typically invests in capital projects for non-profit and charitable organizations.
“This renovated facility will be the cornerstone of Limestone’s focus on comprehensive, interdisciplinary care,” Parker explained. “Students, faculty, and staff in Nursing and Health Sciences will work, study, and train together in this incredible new learning environment that we will make a reality in the near future.”
Parker noted that, in an effort to encourage collaboration, the Timken Foundation rarely provides 100 percent of the funding for capital projects. With that in mind, he said that Limestone is working diligently to seek additional investments for the renovation project. He added that construction will not begin until the fundraising for the project is completed.
“As a comprehensive regional university, Limestone is committed to raising the educational levels of Cherokee County and South Carolina citizens by providing the resources they need to succeed in their career fields,” Parker said. “Limestone University’s presence in the Upstate encourages our citizens to pursue higher education while remaining in the local community and contributing their skills and talents toward creating a more prosperous Cherokee County.”
The most recent additions to Limestone’s healthcare curriculum include the Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), a Pre-licensure BSN, a Master of Social Work, and a Master of Science in Health Informatics. A Master in Athletic Training will be implemented next year, and Parker said that other health-related graduate programs are on the horizon and will be announced soon.
The University is now partnering with the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) to provide Limestone students the opportunity to receive a Guaranteed Admissions Interview, as well as take part in an Early Admission Program to VCOM’s doctoral-level osteopathic medical college’s campus in Spartanburg. This partnership will prepare community-focused physicians to meet the needs of rural populations facing physician shortages.