By Madison Fisler Lewis
Oct. 9, 2014. The weather was warm and the sun was shining on a momentous day for Lees-McRae College. On Wednesday, Oct. 8, Lees-McRae held a dedication ceremony to commemorate the completion of the new May School of Nursing and Health Sciences. The ceremony began at 11 a.m. in the courtyard of the new building, with about 250 people in attendance comprised of members of the Board of Trustees, faculty members, administration personnel, donors and students.
This facility, which began as a dream in 2010, will be the cornerstone of the College’s expanded nursing and health sciences programs, read a press release.
After breaking ground in June 2013, architects McMillian Pazdan Smith of Greenville, S.C., and contractors Shelco, of Charlotte, N.C., wasted no time with construction, which officially began in September 2013. After one whirlwind year, the 18,000 square foot facility will soon house the existing athletic training program, the new emergency medical services and management program and the proposed pre-licensure nursing program (pending NCBON approval). Collectively, the May School will serve more than 300 Lees-McRae students and generate more than 2,000 clinical hours spent in the local community.
The welcome address was given by Caroline Hart, vice president of advancement, at the very beginning of the ceremony.
“What a special day for this campus community,” said Hart. “Together we celebrate a historic day.”
Hart recognized various people who made the May School possible, including members of the Shelco team, the architecture firm, the site superintendent, the Board of Trustees, faculty members and of course, the donors.
“There aren’t adequate words to show appreciation to the May Family,” Hart continued.
Dianne and the late Dan May are longtime friends of the College, and donated approximately 60 percent of the funds needed to make the May School a reality. In addition to their contributions for the May School, the May Family has also provided funds for the May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and they also contributed funds for new roof construction, sidewalk construction and landscaping for the college.
Following the welcome, Ken Craig, chair of the division of humanities, gave the dedication blessing. Special music was provided by Holly Hendricks and David Craven with accompaniment by Paul Adamson, who performed “I Hope You Dance.”
Special remarks were made by President Barry M. Buxton, who welcomed the crowd “to a very historic day in the life of Lees-McRae College.”
“It is a dream come true for the entirety of Lees-McRae College,” said Buxton. “We hope it [the May School] will strengthen Lees-McRae and improve healthcare in our community.”
Buxton continued that the dedication of this building was about the realization of a dream that has continued at the college since it was first founded in 1900.
“That dream lives on in the hearts of Dan and Diane May,” Buxton said. “This kind of passion and love is sacred. We know in our hearts that Dan is looking down on us and smiling with joy. We pray this new nursing school and its curriculum will improve the status of healthcare in Avery County and our community. The dream of the founders is still alive.”
After Buxton’s remarks, Brian May, the son of Dan and Diane May, took the stage to make his.
“What Lees-McRae has provided today is to give people an opportunity to change the world,” he said. “We are confident that the May School of Nursing [and Health Sciences] will have a positive impact on the community and we are excited to be a part of it.”
After the conclusion of the ceremony, the May School of Nursing and Health Sciences was opened for self-guided tours. Guests were able to tour the EMT Simulation Lab including an ambulance simulator, and the Nursing Simulation Suite which houses a simulated hospital unit.
In the unit, guests were treated to a simulation demonstration of one of the high-fidelity simulators, Victoria. Guests could also view simulated exam tables, hospital beds, an apartment and the Athletic Training Simulation Lab. Five of the simulators were available for viewing, including the pregnant woman and her baby (Victoria), a child, an amputee and others.
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Photos by Madison Fisler Lewis
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