County gets $1M in grants

A $275,000 Golden LEAF Foundation grant to Richmond Community College could springboard the development of the currently vacant Edwin Morgan Center into a dual-use clinical training center for the college’s nursing program and county office space.

LAURINBURG — Between Richmond Community College and the Scotland Memorial Foundation, more than $1 million of the monies awarded in the latest round of Golden LEAF Foundation Community-Based Grants Initiative will be coming to Scotland County.

Richmond Community College received a $275,000 grant to renovate the Edwin Morgan Center as a simulated hospital setting for the clinical training of students in its nursing program. The center’s residents were moved to Scottish Pines Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in January.

The RCC grant also comes as good news for the county, which hopes to move some of its offices from its Covington Street administrative building to the Morgan Center, making room for the tax department..

“The design of Covington Street is easier to actually provide physical security for the tax department to collect funds in than to build them over at the Morgan Center,” said County Manager Kevin Patterson, who estimated that the project will require at least another $300,000 in county funds — more if the Scotland Health Care System board is unwilling to donate the building.

“Those monies were all designed with the concept that the building be donated,” he said. “We’ll get written verification of the grants next week and we’ll start developing a timeline to extend a specific request to the hospital for the donation of the building.”

The Scotland County Courthouse currently houses the county’s tax department, but the court system is outgrowing its available space. The space occupied by the tax department could be used as an overflow courtroom or provide space for small claims court, which is currently packed into the clerk of court’s conference room.

“Right now when they have juries, they don’t have space to put a jury pool other than the main hallway,” Patterson said. “They’re looking for a holding area so they don’t have to worry about contamination.”

RCC’s total grant request was near $700,000, and would have covered lab equipment and some personnel costs.

From the same round of Golden LEAF grants, the Scotland Memorial Foundation received $841,800, in part for costs involved in the ongoing expansion of the Emergency Center.

Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.