10/20/18 – Lenoir/Caldwell UNC Health Care Receives $500,000 Rural Hope Grant

Posted on: October 22nd, 2018 by admin


October 20, 2018


By Edward Terry


A $500,000 North Carolina Rural Hope Grant has been awarded to a Caldwell UNC Health Care project that will create 50 new jobs in Caldwell County with an average salary of more than $54,000 per job.


The North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Rural Division announced the grant on Oct. 18. Assisted by the Caldwell EDC and awarded to the City of Lenoir on behalf of Caldwell UNC Health Care, the funding will help in completion of the $7.2 million Behavioral Health Pavilion project.


“These are excellent jobs with excellent pay, and it’s a significant investment by Caldwell UNC Health Care to provide a much-needed service to the region,” said Deborah Murray, Executive Director of the Caldwell Economic Development Commission. “Caldwell UNC Health Care’s project will have a major impact on the local economy as well as improving the quality of health care for this area.”


The Rural Hope Grant will help fund the construction of the 17,200-square-foot facility, which will provide a 27-bed adult in-patient unit, an outpatient clinic and an outdoor “Healing Commons” area. The facility will be located adjacent to Caldwell UNC Health Care’s main facility on Mulberry Street in Lenoir.


In addition to the grant, the project funding will be matched by contributions from the Caldwell Hospital Foundation, the Cannon Foundation and $4 million in funding from the North Carolina General Assembly.


“The fact that we have so many interested partners with open ears and willing hearts, it demonstrates the need,” Caldwell UNC Health Care President and CEO Laura Easton said. “If we can address mental health issues, we can improve the overall health and quality of life in Caldwell County.”


Among the 50 new jobs that are scheduled for creation by 2020 are: a medical doctor, a psychologist, nurses, medical assistants, security officers and support staff. The total annual wages generated by the 50 new jobs will total more than $2.7 million.


In addition to the economic impact of the new jobs, the project will address a growing health care need for Caldwell County and the surrounding areas that Caldwell UNC Health Care serves. Easton said the Behavioral Health Pavilion will help Caldwell UNC Health Care in achieving its mission as a health care provider.


“It’s transformational for the care we can deliver,” said Easton, who considers the Behavioral Health project a capstone for her career. “Our suicide rate is one of the highest in the state. I have long wanted to intervene, but have lacked the resources to do that. One in five people are personally affected by a mental health crisis in their lifetime. We need to be here addressing the issue in a more preventative manner.”


In addition to various government and non-profit partnerships that will build the facility, Easton said that she looks forward to working with Caldwell County Schools, Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute and other regional health care providers on developing the future workforce that will serve this facility as well as others in the region.


The anticipated start date for construction of the facility is late Fall of 2018. Construction is scheduled to be completed by September of 2019 with service offerings beginning in November of 2019.


For more information, please contact:


Deborah Murray
Executive Director
Caldwell County Economic Development Commission

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