Davidson County Community College celebrated the start of construction and announced the name of its future Sarah and Edward Smith Health Sciences Center on Tuesday on the Davidson campus.
The event was attended by DCCC leaders, faculty, staff, students, elected officials, community members, health care partners, and the Smith family.
“Good ideas attract champions,” said Mary E. Rittling, president of DCCC since 2003. “The critical importance of our health care programs, and the centrality of high quality health care to a thriving community, make it increasingly important to build a new health sciences center here at Davidson County Community College. The right people have come to the table to make this dream happen for DCCC and for our community.”
The center is named in honor of the late Sarah Lanier Smith and the late Edward “Eddie” Calvin Smith by their family. Eddie Smith served as the first chair of the DCCC Foundation Board and as a college trustee for 12 years, chairing the board for four years. In 1992, he became only the second person to receive an honorary degree from the college.
The Sarah & Edward Smith Health Sciences Center will honor Sarah and Eddie’s commitments to quality education and health care. The couple supported educational opportunities both locally and across the state, and Eddie also led the fundraising drive in the 1970s to build the new Lexington Memorial Hospital.
Both were tireless advocates for improving the community through civic engagement, entrepreneurship and public service. They started National Wholesale Company in 1952 and over the coming decades would prove again and again their commitment to the local economy, their employees, and their community. From Sarah’s involvement with the American Diabetes Association to Eddie’s time as mayor of Lexington and chair of the Lexington Area Chamber of Commerce, they served their community in multiple ways. Eddie spearheaded efforts to save the old Carolina Theater, which was later renamed the Edward C. Smith Civic Center, and worked to establish Family Services of Davidson County.
Additional support for the new center comes through a federal grant from the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, funding from the Davidson County Commissioners, a donation from Follett Higher Education, which runs DCCC’s bookstore, a portion of DCCC’s Connect NC bond dollars, and through donations made by individuals and businesses to the DCCC Foundation.
The new state-of-the-art center will house many of the College’s health sciences programs and help foster interdisciplinary learning that reflects the type of professional working relationships students will experience in their careers. Currently the College’s health sciences programs are spread throughout campus.
The 48,000-square-foot building will provide more space for hands-on simulations and learning, up-to-date labs, classrooms and meeting spaces. Construction is expected to be complete with classes starting in the new building in January 2018. Nursing, nursing assistant, emergency medical science, medical laboratory technology, medical assistant, pharmacy technology, esthetics, and therapeutic massage are programs that will be moving into the new space.
Health care programs offered by DCCC in Davie County include Surgical Technology and Central Sterile Processing. These programs will continue to be offered in DCCC’s new space at Davie Medical Center – Mocksville, where students have the unique opportunity to use a real hospital as their learning environment.
DCCC graduates over 200 students in the health sciences each year. College officials expect the addition of the new center to enhance the College’s ability to provide premier health care education to students and supply highly-trained professionals to the health care providers in our region.