The project comprises a 31,000 square foot, expansion to Claflin University’s Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Physical Education Center to a full-service Health and Wellness Center (H&WC) Complex with both a new indoor and outdoor enrichment multi-purpose area (the “Project”). Founded in 1869 and located in Orangeburg, South Carolina, Claflin University is an African American liberal arts institution which serves 1,800 students annually, of which, 76% are from low income families and are Pell Grant eligible. While there are limited health and wellness facilities serving the people of Orangeburg, Bamberg, and Calhoun counties, there are also significant income and economic disparities that intensify the health problems.
The Project will increase the University’s capacity to address the health and wellness needs of the university community and to serve residents of the Greater Orangeburg community in life and health enhancing activities and training. The expanded Health and Wellness Center Complex will offer a one stop shop for holistic learning, community engagement and life-long wellness that will service the Project’s predominately minority community. In total, the Project will directly service the health and wellness needs of nearly 3,000 people per year within its medically underserved locale.
Upon completion, the 31,000 square foot expansion will house office and classroom space for training, forums and research, along with a full-service, demonstration kitchen to advance nutrition and dietary studies, as well as fitness areas for integrated wellness such as a gymnastics/aerobics room, a weight room, intramural sports court and an indoor track. The aggregate site consists of 2.5 acres of green space to host a mini farmers’ market and an education program with the USDA and the local small and minority farmers in the areas, along with other outdoor events such as yoga and Tai Chi classes.
The H&WC will engage fellow students and the community to ensure awareness of expanded opportunities for those students interested in public health. Claflin University has partnered with the University of South Carolina to offer a 5-year program that provides a B.S. degree in Biology from Claflin and a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of South Carolina. Recently, the University’s accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, approved the launch of Claflin’s Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) program for the fall 2016 semester. This distinguishes the institution as the only African American college/university in South Carolina to offer a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Claflin University President, Dr. Henry Tisdale, said, “We see this as a tremendous opportunity for Claflin to contribute to the workforce by producing visionary leaders in nursing and other professions within the healthcare industry”.
The Health and Wellness Center will provide hands-on training for these students within these new programs through academic instruction and internships, thus helping to ensure that they are competitively positioned for academic and career opportunities upon graduation. Moreover, the newly created BSN program should add to Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College’s existing educational program by providing a pipeline for graduates into Claflin’s new program, while further addressing the shortage of qualified nurses in the area realized as of recent.
- Poverty Rate of 34.3%
- Annual Media Income of 56.7%
- Unemployment Rate 1.97 x the National Unemployment Rate
- Federally Designated Medically Underserved Area
- 45 FTE jobs created
- 100 Construction jobs created
Project CDE Alignment
The Project is located in a highly distressed and medically underserved census tract within an underserved state for NMTCs as designated by the CDFI Fund for the 2013 and 2014 allocation rounds. It will provide needed services to the distressed community by allowing increased access to health and wellness care needed to combat the disproportionately high incidences of chronic conditions seen within the Project’s three county footprint. It is anticipated that the center will provide expanded services to roughly 2,331 LIP patients while providing 45 total full-time jobs with 37 of the total jobs expected to be accessible to low income persons.