Grant request aids RCCHC

Published 10:40 am Wednesday, April 4, 2012

WINTON – While federal funds are providing the lion’s share of the money needed to construct the new Roanoke-Chowan Community Health Center in Ahoskie, there is a need for additional monies to pay for other necessary items.

Hertford County local government has decided to help RCCHC with that effort.

At their meeting Monday morning, the Hertford County Board of Commissioners gave the green light to Bill Early, the county’s Economic Development Director, to seek funding from the North Carolina Rural Center that will help offset the costs for RCCHC to have an access road constructed to their new facility as well as purchasing an emergency generator.

“Their new facility is in excess of $6 million,” Early said. “Most of that project is being funded through federal grants. However those grants cannot be used for the access road leading into that facility. They also have the need to add an emergency generator.”

Early said RCCHC is eligible to apply for grant funds from the Rural Center.

“That grant, the Rural Hope Grant, is very similar to the building reuse grant that we’ve done several times before for various businesses here in Hertford County,” Early said.

Early added that the county, on behalf of RCCHC, is seeking $120,000 in Rural Hope Grant funding to assist with the construction of the access road as well as the purchase and installation of the emergency generator.

He said the RCCHC project exceeds the funding criteria set forth by the Rural Center as they expect to create 15 new full time jobs, at an average annual salary of $30,000 each.

The request for a Rural Hope Grant is different than a reuse grant as it does not require a percentage cash match from the grantee.

“We do have to provide a $3,600 match for in-kind services,” Early explained.

Commissioner Ronald Gatling inquired of what constituted in-kind services. Early said it would be covered by his administrative work in applying for the grant.

On a motion from Commissioner Howard Hunter III, the board unanimously approved making an application for the Rural Hope Grant as well as adopting a resolution in support of the project.

Meanwhile, construction is well underway on RCCHC’s new facility located off Hertford County High School Road in Ahoskie. That new office was funded through a federal stimulus grant in the amount of $6.22 million that was officially awarded in December of last year.

RCCHC is constructing a 40,000 square foot Health Center. In a separate project, the ECU School of Dental Medicine has an 8,000 square foot Service Learning Center currently under construction on the same property. That stand-alone center, which will adjoin RCCHC’s Health Center facility, will include 16 dental chairs and be staffed full-time by ECU faculty dentists, residents, and students. ECU will hire additional staff locally. The Ahoskie site, scheduled to open this spring, is the first is among 10 ECU Service Learning Centers to be located across North Carolina.

The new Health Center is scheduled to open in September. Not only will it house the RCCHC offices (on the second floor), it will become the new home of Ahoskie Family Physicians, now located in cramped quarters on Academy Street where as many as 60 staff members treat up to 200 patients per day. The new facility will boast of 48 exam rooms, larger laboratories and an in-house pharmacy.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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