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Bon Secours changes plan for Westhampton School property

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RICHMOND, Va. -- More than four years after taking control of the old Westhampton School property at Libbie and Patterson Avenues and three years after announcing plans to transform it into a new College of Nursing, Bon Secours announced it has scraped that idea.

"After extensive due diligence, leaders of the health system made the decision based on an updated estimate Bon Secours received from their architect that nearly doubled the construction costs," a spokesperson for Bon Secours said. "A second architectural firm confirmed the higher estimate to be viable. The change in course occurred during the final preparations for submitting permits to the city to relocate the College to the Westhampton property."

Bon Secours had announced plans to transform the old school building into a nursing school as part of a 2012 deal with the City of Richmond that helped lure the Washington Redskins Training Camp to town.

As part of the Washington Redskins deal, the city agreed to lease four acres of the property to Bon Secours Richmond Health System for $5,000 per year for 60 years.

That deal angered some neighbors who were concerned about what Bon Secours planned to do with the property.

This week Bon Secours confirmed it planned to building its nBoew College of Nursing on vacant space at its Memorial Regional Medical Center campus in Hanover.

As for the Westhampton School property, Bon Secour will tear down the 95-year-old building and construct a Medical Office Building.

"Returning to this plan would allow us to bring more physicians onto our campus, providing enhanced and seamless care for our patients, this neighborhood and the broader community," Bon Secours Virginia Health System CEO Toni R. Ardabell said in a statement.

Plans are contingent upon approval through local and corporate boards and the City of Richmond.

Several council members voiced concern.

“I was disappointed to hear of the Bon Secours plan to demolish this historic property within the Westhampton neighborhood, and I am not inclined to support that but want to hear from the neighborhoods impacted," said Councilwoman Kim Gray.

"It is always our desire and our intent to work with our neighbors and the community when it comes to construction and expansion," Ardabell said. "That will continue. We also must work within the parameters of our corporate structure and approval process."

A Bon Secours spokesperson said they would continue to maintain upkeep on the Westhampton School property during the transition phase.

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