King College retains Thompson & Litton for med school study
BRISTOL, Tenn. — By David Mcgee
King College has retained an engineering and consulting firm to study the possible use of Johnston Memorial Hospital for its proposed medical school.
The private, comprehensive school has hired Thompson & Litton, based in Wise, Va., to review the feasibility of using the current hospital in Abingdon, Va., to house an allopathic school of medicine and sciences center, according to a news release from the college.
King officials have been working since late 2008 to secure support and partnerships to establish the school somewhere in the region. Earlier this month, officials at K-VA-T Food Stores announced plans to acquire the hospital – which is scheduled to be replaced in July by a new $150 million facility near Interstate 81 – and offered to donate it for the medical school.
“We have also consulted with T&L for some time now on our very specific building needs for our medical education model, so this firm knows what we’re looking for,” college President Greg Jordan said.
The firm was chosen because it specializes in renovation and adaptive reuse of existing structures, Jordan said.
The company is expected to begin its evaluation of the five-story hospital building immediately, according to William Thompson III, the company’s vice president of architecture.
“We are delighted to be the consultant on this important project for King College,” Thompson said. “We will review all aspects of the five-story JMH facility within the 90-day timeframe allocated for this study.”
Grocery chain President Steve Smith formally offered to donate the building for the medical school during a news conference announcing his company’s plans to acquire the property. The old hospital was built in 1919 and has undergone numerous expansions.
Food City’s present corporate offices are in Abingdon, but its 350 employees are scattered at five locations around town, Smith said.
If the medical school uses the hospital building, the grocery chain will erect a five-story corporate headquarters building on the back side of the property, Smith said. If not, his company will consider whether to renovate the old hospital or raze it and build on the site.
The King medical school has received $25 million from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission and a pledge of $15 million in local funding, including land at the Stone Mill Technology and Business Park near I-81’s Exit 14.