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Chase City’s Estes Center featured on Public Radio

South Boston News
Fred Echols, host of WVTF All Things Considers, conducts interviews recently for the station's feature on Chase City's Estes Community Center. / June 07, 2010
Recently The Estes Community Center in Chase City was featured on WVTF’s (Virginia Public Radio) All Things Considered.

Fred Echols (WVTF All Things Considered Host and News Producer) spent a day on site at The Estes Community Center. He talked with SVCC students and graduates along with Estes Center staff and community officials and supporters about what the Center means to Chase City and the surrounding area.

WVTF covers a wide viewing area and there is more about the station at The frequency for Southside Virginia is 89.1. Also, even though the segment has aired, it is still available on line at

According to Echol’s report, “In some ways, Chase City fits the standard pattern of what’s happened to small towns in Southside Virginia over the past two decades. Traditional industries such as textiles and tobacco have declined or disappeared entirely as unemployment has hit double digits. But Chase City has something that most similar communities don’t have. The Estes Center in Chase City, Virginia has provided a spark for the area’s depressed economy with specialized training for residents who have few other resources close at hand.”

Echols talked with many from the area about the impact the Center and SVCC classes have had on the area. Dr. Earle Moore, one of the three men who initially dreamed of opening the center, spoke on microphone with Echols along with Chase City Mayor Eddie Bratton.

Bratton noted that the Center is key in attracting jobs to the area that will remain in the area.

Student Yvonne Russell called the Center “a wonderful place with wonderful people.” She commented on the convenience of the facility to her home and the fact that she is close to reaching her goal of completing her GED, thanks to free classes offered there.

Center Director Bonnie Gilliam provided the radio personality with a tour of the 30,000 + square foot facility and told Echols about the demanding Practical Nursing Program that has an 88 percent pass rate on the state board which is above the 85% national average. Each year there are about 90 applications for the 30 slots in the program, Gilliam said.

Mark Stewart is in the PN program. Echols noted that he is an unusual case since Stewart holds a Bachelorís degree in Criminal Justice. Stewart decided to pursue another career route and enrolled.

“This is a great place, a nice new facility that runs like clockwork,” he told the radio interviewer.

Another PN student interviewed is Latonya Burton who commented on the convenience of the Estes Center which is just three miles from her home and also, is a place giving her a chance to do something she always wanted to do.

Chase City Health and Rehabilitation Center employees Sharon Barnes, Administrator, and Jennifer Williams, Director of Nursing, spoke about the importance of the training center to the decision of the company to locate in the area. Many CNAs, LPNs and RN trained at Southside Virginia Community College can find employment right there. Williams herself is a graduate of SVCC’s RN Program.

Ursula Butts, Vice President for Patient Care Services at Community Memorial Healthcenter in South Hill also spoke about the use of the facility for training prospective employees of that facility. The Estes Center houses the SVCC Nursing Simulation Lab, a sophisticated, state-of-the-art health care training center used to enhance the clinical education of nursing students.

The lab features a computer-driven human simulator known as Sim Man and its smaller counterpart Sim Baby. Together, they allow students to assess changeable heart sounds, breath sounds, chest movement, experience cardiac monitoring and effects of interventions and medications given. Both simulators can demonstrate different customized patient profiles and individualized medical scenarios ranging from basic to complex nursing care. Another simulator “Noelle” provides maternal and neonatal birthing simulation and IV therapy initiation training is available with the virtual reality IV arm. Use of simulation in the Simulation Lab helps students acquire critical thinking skills and gain clinical competency.

The Southside Virginia Community College foundation is working with area volunteers and Estes Community Center supporters to fund an endowment that will be used to maintain the integrity of the building and grounds. An investment in this fund is an investment in the community and in those who seek to better their lives through job training, computer literacy and education. For more information on how you can make a difference, please contact 434-949-1051 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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