Emory & Henry College is a private, coeducational liberal arts college located in southwest Virginia in the Appalachian highlands. In 2015, Reinvestment Fund provided financing to help the College acquire and renovate the vacant former Smyth County Hospital to house a newly formed School of Health Sciences.
The new medical school will offer a Doctor of Physical Therapy program, which is currently in its first year of operations; Occupational Therapy will come online in the 2017 school year, and a Physician Assistant program will begin in the 2018 school year. Upon full operations, the school will have a capacity of 250 students and employ 30 faculty and 10 full- and part-time support staff.
The renovated hospital complex in this rural and medically underserved community will be completed in 2016, allowing the school to increase its academic program to include graduate level studies in the health sciences and activate two student-run clinics (focused on obesity and falls prevention) and relocate and expand the local Mel Leaman Free Clinic of Smyth County.
Through the expansion, the clinic will be able to triple the number of exam rooms and visits, expand services to low-income residents of adjacent counties, and add a dental facility. For the school, the free clinic provides exposure to a diverse patient population and helps students meet their graduate program accreditation requirements.
The expansion of the college campus into Marion, VA, will also serve as a great catalyst for economic development, as the college population will support new commercial activity, housing, food establishments and other activities within close proximity to the campus.
Project costs total $17.9 million, which is being financed using New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC), federal and state historic tax credits, grants and owner equity. Reinvestment Fund and JPMorgan Chase provided $13 million and $2 million, respectively, of NMTCs and Chase is serving as the investor. First Bank & Trust Company of nearby Lebanon, VA, is providing financing to bridge a Smyth County Foundation grant and the state and federal historic tax credit equity.