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Taller safety fence, 8 new school buses, higher summer school wages pass School Board

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The Warren County School Board unanimously approved several action items during its Wednesday, March 17 meeting designed to bolster safety at a local elementary school, ramp up transportation, and bring in more summer school staff for Warren County Public Schools (WCPS).

Due to safety concerns at E. Wilson Morrison Elementary School regarding public access and use of the school grounds after normal school hours, WCPS Maintenance Director Greg Livesay told School Board members that division staff has implemented several measures to improve the overall safety and security of the site, including fencing, increased video surveillance, additional site lighting, and signage.

 

But more is needed, specifically fencing, Livesay said. The existing 4-feet-high chain link fencing at the school does not provide adequate safety of the hard surface play area directly behind the building and between the vehicle travel lane, which separates the hard surface play area from the playground and the modular classrooms, he said.

 

“We have plans to replace approximately 540 linear feet of 4-feet-high chain link fence with new 6-feet-high metal fencing with vehicles gates at each end of the travel lane that will be used to prevent traffic flow behind the school during and after school hours,” said Livesay, noting that WCPS staff solicited three proposals for the work with two bids received.


Winchester, Va.-based McGrane Fence Co. Inc. was the lowest responsive bidder with a $34,725 bid to install the new 6-feet-high metal fencing with driveway gates at the elementary school, he said.

A motion to accept the contract with McGrane Fence Co. was made by School Board member Kristen Pence with a second by School Board member James Wells, who along with Board Chairman Arnold Williams, Jr., Board Vice Chairwoman Catherine Bower, and member Ralph Rinaldi voted yes.

“This would just give us more flexibility in being able to control some of the issues that we have been experiencing at E. Wilson Morrison,” said WCPS Superintendent Christopher Ballenger.

When asked to detail what kind of issues there have been at the school, Ballenger wrote Royal Examiner in an email on Thursday, March 18: “We have had some issues with some vandalism and trash being left on the school grounds after hours and over the weekends. There is also a safety concern because the road is open to traffic and students cross the road to access the playground. The fencing will help us to mitigate these issues.”

Also, during the meeting, School Board members voted unanimously to approve a contract price not to exceed $935,000 in current appropriated funds for WCPS to purchase eight new school buses to be delivered in June, according to WCPS Transportation Director Aaron Mitchell.

Specifically, the new buses are needed “to update and maintain our school bus fleet,” Mitchell said. He also noted that the diesel, 77-passenger-seat school buses will be purchased from Thomas Bus Company.

One of the eight buses will be outfitted with a wheelchair lift, as well as fully removable seats. Mitchell explained that such a bus will support students with special needs, who will not have a barrier to going on field trips, for instance. “We are reaching that ultimate level of inclusion to even include transportation now,” he added.

In another unanimous vote, School Board members approved increased hourly rates for WCPS staff for summer school, which this year will run from June 23 through July 8.

“In recent years, it has been increasingly difficult to attract the amount of staff needed with the current hourly rate,” WCPS Personnel Director George Smith told board members. “This summer will provide an additional challenge to secure staff due to a short summer break” as the WCPS summer school program is scheduled for 10 days.

On behalf of WCPS, Smith recommended increasing the hourly rate for the summer school administrator from $35 to $45 per hour; raising pay from $25 to $35 per hour for summer school teachers, and bumping up hourly pay for summer school instructional assistants from $10 to $15 per hour. The cost is covered in the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school budgets.

Ballenger said that the school division will send out a flyer shortly regarding summer school once details are solidified.

Other approved items
The Warren County School Board also unanimously approved several other action agenda items.

Among them, Superintendent Ballenger is authorized to request that the Warren County Board of Supervisors appropriate the fiscal year (FY) 2020 School Operating Surplus in the amount of $2,380,365 as follows: $1 million to the Schools Capital Improvement Fund; $1 million to the School Transportation Fund; and $380,365 to the School Textbook Fund.

“The transportation fund will be a new fund that will be used to purchase buses,” Ballenger wrote in his email earlier today. “The buses approved last night [March 17] were requested in this year’s budget.”

The board also authorized the Transportation Department to replace its current Ricoh printer/copier, which Mitchell said is nearly 10 years old, for a monthly lease cost of $217.84.
WCPS also received approval to spend $17,355.82 for a one-year renewal of Frontline PD, a professional development management system that WCPS Director of Elementary Instruction Lisa Rudacille said houses staff professional development offerings, keeps track of professional staff’s license renewal points and provides a mechanism through which professional development can be approved toward re-licensure efforts.

And the School Board approved a request from WCPS Director of Special Services Michael Hirsch, who asked that WCPS enter a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with The Warren Coalition to provide a variety of evidence-based programs to WCPS students that address bullying, making healthy choices, and developing emotional intelligence.

“This helps students to be aware of, control, express emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and with empathy,” Hirsch said.

The evidence-based programs are “LifeSkills Curriculum” for grades 6-8 and students attending Brighter Futures; the “HALO” program for preschool students with disabilities; and the “Too Good for Drugs” program for 9th graders and students attending Diversified Minds, according to Hirsch.

Another program targeting bullying prevention that is coupled with the middle school program and is not a part of the MOU also will be delivered to middle school students, he added.

Superintendent Ballenger clarified with Royal Examiner that these programs are “a continuation of the programs that we already have in place within our schools.”

The School Board also unanimously adopted a resolution requesting that the Warren County Board of Supervisors (BOS) issue general obligation bonds to refund an existing bond. The BOS requested that the School Board adopts the resolution so that it may proceed with an application to refund the bonds and realize associated savings totaling an estimated $1.17 million over the remaining life of the bond, Ballenger explained.

Upcoming items presented
A representative from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) updated the School Board on the length of an upcoming Happy Creek Road improvement project this summer and its possible impact on school transportation for the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

No action was required during the board’s Wednesday night meeting as VDOT right now is waiting on project start-date news from the utility companies, which are working with the railroad companies on related proposals and permits, the VDOT rep said.

The potential start date for the project is June 10 with a completion date set for August 10, but the VDOT rep said those dates could change. Ballenger would prefer not to change the current school calendar for the fall start date of school if VDOT can meet its project deadlines.

The VDOT rep said the department will know by July 1 whether it can meet the August completion date. School Board member Wells suggested waiting until July 1 to decide whether WCPS should adjust the school schedule, saying it’s better to “deal with the issue once rather than twice.”

WCPS Assistant Superintendent for Administration Melody Sheppard also presented an item not requiring School Board action last night regarding an MOU to be entered into between the School Board and the Warren County Sheriff’s Office that sets forth the powers and duties of the school resource officer (SRO). No motion was necessary because the MOU will be presented at the April 7 School Board meeting for consideration, said Sheppard.

SROs assist with safety and security matters at schools and help school administrators develop school crisis and response plans. They also work with administrators on crime prevention measures and to promote school safety, said Sheppard, who added that SROs serve multiple, interrelated roles that help support positive school climate.

“This MOU is reviewed and affirmed or amended at least once every two years,” Sheppard said, adding that the revised MOU is modeled after the Virginia School-Law Enforcement Partnership Model MOU developed by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. “WCPS and the Sheriff’s Office have worked collaboratively to ensure the MOU aligns with our policies and practices,” she said.

The Sheriff’s Office will provide 10 law enforcement officers that it employs to serve as SROs for WCPS, said Sheppard.

Watch the entire School Board’s March 17 meeting in the exclusive Royal Examiner video below.

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County’s June 10 Situation Report: COVID update and Happy Creek Road closing approaches

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Warren County ranked next to last in percentage of the population being fully vaccinated in a June 10th County Emergency Management update related to COVID-19 statistics in the Lord Fairfax Health District (LFHD). According to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) 32.2% of Warren’s population is fully vaccinated, which is just 2.4% below the average LFHD vaccination rate of 34.6%. Statewide in Virginia, VDH reported a 46.7% rate of fully vaccinated citizens.

Vaccination rates in the six-jurisdiction Northern Shenandoah Valley-based Lord Fairfax Health District were:

1/ Clarke County 44.6%;

2/ Winchester City 38.5%;


3/ Shenandoah County 36.8%;

4/ Frederick County 36.4%;

5/ Warren County 32.2%;

6/ Page County 31.6%.

Barring medically established physical reasons for not being vaccinated, citizens are being urged to take advantage of the increasing availability of FDA-approved vaccines as a preventative, not only from becoming symptomatic if exposed to COVID-19 Coronavirus strains but also as a preventative from passing the virus to others if exposed. As previously reported, relaxing CDC, State, and local social distancing and masking standards are aimed at an increasingly vaccinated population, with unvaccinated people urged to continue to social distance, mask, and wash their hands more regularly than normal as noted in the below report.

See above-cited and related information, as well as info on the June 19 closing of a portion of Happy Creek Road into early August, from June 10, 2021, County SITREP (Situation Report) below:

County Emergency Services Coordinator Rick Farrall briefed the county supervisors on June 8. That briefing focused on the dynamics of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, referenced below, in which the County has applied for $7.8 million in relief funding to be distributed through 2026. Royal Examiner Photo by Roger Bianchini

 

COMMUNITY INFORMATION, 6-10-21, 1:42 p.m.

COVID update, information & LINKS, June 10, 2021, 1:42 p.m.:

  1. COVID-19 Information (Current Data):
  2. Lord Fairfax Health District:  As of today (per the VDH website), the number of total COVID-19 cases per locality are: Clarke 991, Frederick 8,084, Page 2,115, Shenandoah 4,328, Warren 3,064 (121 are/were hospitalized, 59 deaths attributed to the County; deaths 1.92% total cases), Winchester 2,937; the current status of these patients is unknown (admitted to hospital, discharged to home isolation/quarantine, departed the District/County).
  3. Note – Regional population fully vaccinated according to VDH site (avg 34.6%):
  4. Clarke – 44.6%
  5. Frederick – 36.4%

iii.      Page – 31.6%

  1. Shenandoah – 36.8%
  2. Warren – 32.2%
  3. Winchester – 38.5%

 

  1. Commonwealth: 7,521,258 people tested (PCR only); 677,425 total cases [2.0% positive rate (PCR only)]; 30,086 total hospitalized; 11,270 total deaths (1.66%total cases).
  2. Note:  46.7% of Virginia population fully vaccinated according to VDH site.
  3. United States:  As of June 9, 2021, there are 33,224,075 total cases and 595,625 total deaths (1.79%total cases) attributed to COVID-19.

 

Coronavirus-related information

  1. Current Executive Orders and Local Directives (not all inclusive):
  2. Local – Designation of Critical and Essential Employees during an Emergency Memorandum, effective May 7, 2020, until further notice

 

  1. Key Leader Public Messaging (CDC) – Take Prevention Measures:
  2. Vaccinated People:
  3. Prevention measures not needed
  4. Unvaccinated People:
  5. Wear a mask
  6. Stay 6 feet apart

iii.      Wash your hands

 

  1. Valley Health – VDH Lord Fairfax Health District Vaccine Information (as of 6/1/2021)

 

  1. STATEWIDE:  Get your shot and help others make a plan to get vaccinated. Getting a shot has never been easier—vaccines are readily available at many supermarket pharmacies, hospitals, doctor’s offices, local health department clinics, and state-run community vaccination centers. To find a vaccine provider near you, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov, call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682), or text your ZIP code to GETVAX (428829). Call center representatives are available from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. All Virginia residents aged 12 and older are eligible to get vaccinated.
  2. LOCALLY:  VDH will offer a COVID-19 clinic every Wednesday in June (except 6/30) at the 15th St. Cafeteria in Front Royal; call 877-VAX-IN-VA or the Heath Department to schedule an appointment.

 

  1. Executive Order 79 (2021) (Effective May 28, 2021):
  2. EO-79 is in furtherance of Amended Executive Order 51 (2020).  Further, this Order terminates Seventh Amended Number Seventy-Two (2021) and Order of Public Health Emergency Nine, shall be effective midnight on May 28, 2021, and shall remain in full force and effect until amended or rescinded by further executive order.
  3. EO-79 (2021):  https://www.governor.virginia.gov/media/governorvirginiagov/executive-actions/EO-79-and-Order-of-Public-Health-Emergency-Ten-Ending-of-Commonsense-Public-Health-Restrictions-Due-to-Novel-Coronavirus-(COVID-19).pdf
  4. EO-51 (2020):  https://www.governor.virginia.gov/media/governorvirginiagov/executive-actions/EO-51-AMENDED-Declaration-of-a-State-of-Emergency-Due-to-Novel-Coronavirus-(COVID-19).pdf
  5. CDC Update as of May 28, 2021.  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html
  6. Updated Choosing Safer Activities infographic with new considerations for the example activity for outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

 

American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (Emergency Coordinator) 

  1. Overallproject coordinator is Rick Farrall, Emergency Coordinator
  2. Warren County’s total allocation is $7,801,386
  3. An application was submitted to the Department of Treasury

iii.      Details to follow

 

LONG-TERM (scheduled completion over 3-months)

 

  1. FEMA Emergency Protective Measures (Category B) Reimbursement (Deputy County Administrator)
  2. Warren County.  Main lead is Taryn Logan, Planning Director
  3. All departments/staff send monthly expense update to Taryn NLT the last working day of each month
  4. Approximate County expenditure to date is approximately $510,000 (5/18/2021)
  5. Town of Front Royal.  Main lead is B.J. Wilson, Finance Director
  6. Approximate Town expenditure to date is $70,000 (10/14/2020)

 

  1. Point of Distribution (POD) (Parks and Recreation)
  2. POD established at the 15thSt. Gym/Cafeteria in coordination with VH/VDH for the mass distribution of critical medical supplies as required (COVID-19 vaccination).  Another term being circulated is “CVC” or Community Vaccination Center.

 

Coming traffic pattern change

 

  1. 2.       Happy Creek Road Closure:
  2. A portion of Happy Creek Road (Route 624) will close next Saturday, June 19, 2021 through approximately August 6, 2021.  VDOT’s (and Norfolk Southern) intent is to complete the reconstruction project before our public schools resume classes in August.
  3. The project will impact Happy Creek Road from the Town of Front Royal limit east to Dismal Hollow Road; it includes work on the railroad crossing site just prior to Dismal Hollow Road.
  4. Residents and First Responders will have local and emergency access to the areas west and east of the railroad crossing.  Once Norfolk Southern begins work on the crossing site, no vehicles will be able to pass from one side to the other until construction is complete.
  5. Please plan your travels accordingly.

 

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Front Royal, Warren County included in Flash Flood Watch alert

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Warren County Emergency Services has issued a release noting the inclusion of Warren County and the Town of Front Royal is a Flash Flood Watch issued by the National Weather Service-Baltimore MD/Washington D.C. at 3:03 AM EDT Fri Jun 11, 2021. Public alerted to possibility of more imminent Flash Flood Warnings if conditions persist through the day:

FLASH FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING

The National Weather Service in Sterling Virginia has expanded the Flash Flood Watch (through this evening) to include portions of Virginia and West Virginia, including the following areas: in Virginia: Clarke, Eastern Loudoun, Fairfax, Frederick VA, Page, Shenandoah, Warren and Western Loudoun. In West Virginia, Berkeley, Eastern Grant, Eastern Mineral, Eastern Pendleton, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, Western Grant, Western Mineral and Western Pendleton.

Additional showers and thunderstorms capable of producing heavy rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 additional inches are expected to re-develop early this morning and persist into this afternoon.



PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS

A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead to Flash Flooding. Flash Flooding is a very dangerous situation. You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.

Involved Communities: VA: Shenandoah-Frederick Page-Warren-Clarke-Fairfax-Western Loudoun-Eastern Loudoun; W.VA: Hampshire-Berkeley-Jefferson-Hardy-Western Grant-Eastern Grant-Western Mineral-Eastern Mineral-Western Pendleton-Eastern Pendleton; including the cities and towns of Shepherdstown, Purcellville, Charles Town, Winchester, Herndon, Ruddle, Keyser, Martinsburg, Woodstock, Brandywine, Mount Storm, Bayard, Chantilly, Antioch, Luray, Centreville, Berryville, Sterling, New Market, Shenandoah, Ashburn, Moorefield, Mount Jackson, Front Royal, Leesburg, McLean, Russelldale, Riverton, Franklin, Fort Ashby, Elk Garden, Oak Flat, Reston, New Creek, Sugar Grove, Romney, Annandale, Headsville, Strasburg, Stanley, Franconia, Ridgeville, and Petersburg.

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Teacher Appreciation with the Rotary Club of Warren County – School year 2020/2021

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Teachers who navigated this unique challenging year all deserve awards! The Rotary Club of Warren County decided to express a small token of appreciation by providing a yummy breakfast for the teachers and staff of our Warren County Public School system. Warm apple cider donuts from the Apple House, apples, granola bars, hot coffee and water were on the menu for the teachers to enjoy!

As a club, members enjoyed coming together to serve the community once again. Rotarian Krista Beahm delivered breakfast every morning during this project! She noted, “The teacher and staff appreciation was a success! This was a much deserved treat for the wonderful WCPS employees for all they have done this past school year.”

A note to the teachers:

Rotary believes education is a right. Our members across the globe unite to educate and uplift students through scholarships and service. The Rotary Club of Warren County wants to thank our teachers and staff for their dedication to our youth during this difficult year! THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO!!!  



Please watch this video to not only see the project in action, but to hear a few fun shout outs from teachers to the students, including a message from a Warren County Middle School Principal – Amy Gubler, Rotary Teacher of the Year – Luke Heater, and School Dean – Carolyn Sheppard.

Thank you to our sponsors:

  • Rotary Club of Warren County
  • Jean’s Jewelers
  • Melanie Hamel – Weichert Realtors
  • Jen Avery – Crum Realty, Inc.

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Blue Ridge Wildlife Center Patient of the Week: Blue Jay

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What is making these young birds sick?

This fledgling Blue Jay is one of dozens of sick birds we have admitted in the past couple of weeks with an unknown illness. This patient came in with its eyes swollen shut and showing discharge. Unfortunately, we don’t know what this illness is.

Photos courtesy of Blue Ridge Wildlife Center

What you need to know:

  1. Affected birds are most commonly blue jays, European starlings, and common grackle fledglings, though fledglings of other species have been seen in smaller numbers with similar signs. We have not yet seen this disease in adults.
  2. Affected birds most commonly appear like the blue jays pictured. Eyes are often shut, sometimes enlarged or showing discharge or reddening. Some affected birds have mild neurological signs (see the video below) while others are severely uncoordinated and stumbling or rolling. Birds may have neurological signs, eye issues, or both.
  3. Cases have been reported in our area and throughout northern Virginia, DC, Maryland, and many other states. We are working with multiple agencies searching for an answer. Until we know more our recommendation is to call the Center if you see a fledgling exhibiting signs.
  4. As we do not yet know if this is an environmental toxin or contagious disease, we strongly encourage you to wear gloves and a mask when containing these birds. We will recommend disposing of the container so don’t use anything you plan to keep. If you find a dead bird, please wear gloves and a mask and dispose of the bird in an outdoor trash can (ideally wrapped in a plastic bag) to avoid potentially exposing others to the disease.

This video shows the neurological signs in a young blue jay and grackle:

Unfortunately, this disease appears to have 100% mortality. We did attempt treatment early on in the outbreak (as did other facilities) none with any significant success.

Given the data we have accumulated between centers, the lack of any treatment success, and the lack of knowledge of what is causing these signs and if they are communicable to other animals/humans, all of these fledglings are being euthanized on intake. This limits their suffering and the risk to other patients/staff/volunteers.

We know that not everyone is understanding of this and will choose not to bring these animals in when there is no chance of success. It is worth noting that these birds die on their own, very unpleasantly, in 24-48 hours if left in the wild. Also, leaving them in the wild could potentially expose others to the disease. We do recommend safely containing and bringing them in for care AFTER you have discussed the case with our staff and we have all determined that this is likely such a case.

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Motorcycle riders urged to sign up for free motorcycle safety course

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Virginia State Police is once again offering its “Ride 2 Save Lives” motorcycle self-assessment course. The free motorcycle self-assessment course allows current riders the opportunity to learn and practice rider safety, how to handle hazards, special situations, interstate highways, curve negotiation, and much more. The course is conducted by Virginia State Police Motors Troopers in a safe environment.

“The sun is out, and the beautiful weather is calling Virginia’s motorcycling community to our highways,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Superintendent of Virginia State Police. “Rider safety is of the utmost importance, as riding a motorcycle is a unique experience with its own unique safety concerns. I encourage all Virginia riders to take advantage of this opportunity to learn from our professional motors troopers.”

All participants must have a valid operator’s license with a Class ‘M’ endorsement, appropriate riding attire, along helmet and eye protection. Motorcycles must be street legal and helmets must be DOT approved to participate in this program. The course will be held:

June 12 – Manassas – Northern Virginia Community College


July 10 – Harrisonburg – James Madison University

July 10 – Manassas – Northern Virginia Community College

A comprehensive listing of Ride 2 Save Lives courses can be found by visiting virginiastatepolice.eventbrite.com. Space is limited and advanced registration for these free courses is required.

 

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Local officials help Valley Health ‘cut the ribbon’ on new Warren Memorial Hospital complex

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County and Town officials gathered with Valley Health staff and administrators Tuesday morning, June 8, to cut the entranceway ribbon to the new Warren Memorial Hospital. And while patients will not begin to be admitted or moved from the current North Shenandoah Avenue hospital location until June 23, the ribbon cutting marking the start of the relocation was a landmark moment in the multi-million dollar, sometimes controversial – most prominently in the absence of a Maternity Unit – modernization of the community hospital.

Below, see Valley Health’s full June 8th press release on the event and its new facility off Leach Run Parkway just south of Warren County Middle School:

Looking north toward Happy Creek Road – Tuesday’s ribbon cutting was at the main entrance at the traffic circle in upper-right center of photo. Courtesy Photo Valley Health

‘Valley Health Warren Memorial Hospital Dedicates, Celebrates Its New Health-Inspiring Home’ – Staff Preparing for June 23 Hospital Opening


Front Royal, Va., June 8, 2021— Valley Health and community leaders gathered this morning to dedicate the nonprofit health system’s new $100-million Warren Memorial Hospital in Front Royal. The replacement facility will open in two weeks, at 6 a.m. on June 23, at 351 Valley Health Way.

The three-story hospital with adjoining medical building commands a 28-acre developed campus on a slope with stunning views of the Shenandoah Valley, offering a refreshing patient-centered environment for wellness and healing.

“This is an exciting day for Valley Health, but, more importantly, for residents of the Front Royal-Warren County area,” said Valley Health President and CEO Mark Nantz. “I commend the Valley Health Board of Trustees for their commitment to invest in this site and this remarkable, technologically-advanced facility, and I thank all who have supported our efforts to reach this point. We look forward to many more years of serving our community by improving health from this inspiring location.”

Just in case of bad weather or oppressive sunlight, a main and auxiliary tent were erected for the occasion. The hospital is to left of entrance; medical staff, administrative and other offices to right. Royal Examiner Photos by Roger Bianchini

The facility reflects 21st century priorities on patient privacy, greater patient and family involvement in healthcare, and convenient access to providers and outpatient services. The clean, uplifting design capitalizes on available light and outdoor views and features abundant parking and room to expand on the 150-acre site.

“We are grateful for this extraordinary opportunity to ‘take healthcare to new heights,’ said Warren Memorial Hospital President Floyd Heater. “While a new building and state-of-the-art equipment alone cannot guarantee excellent healthcare, I’m confident the form and function of this beautiful, calming space will support our phenomenal team and maximize outcomes and healing for all who come here for care.”

WMH President Floyd Heater opened the ceremonies, acknowledging the importance of state of the art medical services to a community, as well as the struggle with the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic over the past year-plus. Heater invoked a moment of silence for lost loved ones. As of June 8, 3,042 cases, 117 hospitalizations and 59 deaths had been attributed by the Va. Dept. of Health to COVID-19 in Warren County over the past 15 months.

The new hospital has 36 private inpatient rooms, each with a view, accommodations for a visitor, and bathroom with wheelchair-accessible shower. For more acutely ill patients, 12 Critical Care Step-down rooms will accommodate staff and equipment to monitor and support care. A well-equipped inpatient rehab gym will help expedite recovery through physical and occupational therapy.

The 18-bed Emergency Department is larger and more welcoming for EMS crews and waiting families. It has a decontamination area, two trauma rooms with space for equipment and multiple staff, rooms equipped for bariatric and behavioral health patients, a dedicated imaging suite, and adjoining 5-bed Clinical Decision Unit. A helipad expedites Medevac support for rapid emergency care.

Surgical Services boasts three spacious operating suites, two endoscopy rooms, a cardiac catheterization lab, larger pre- and post-op patient staging areas, and a dedicated family waiting room with a view.

All of the new hospital’s clinical support services – from the laboratory to cardiopulmonary rehabilitation to medical imaging — have space and equipment to better support patients and staff, improve efficiency and quality, and provide needed diagnostic and rehab services locally.

Circling the ribbon prior to the start of ceremonies Tuesday morning.

Robert Meltvedt, MD, WMH Vice President of Medical Affairs, has practiced general surgery in the community for 24 years and expressed the anticipation shared by many of his colleagues: “With beauty and light and a healing environment we welcome our new home to bring the best and latest innovations in health care to Warren County,” Dr. Meltvedt said.

“Wired” for Efficiency, Safety, Patient Experience

The new hospital incorporates technologies that support quality care, safety and efficiency, from an interdepartmental pneumatic tube network that delivers medications, specimens and documents, to a patient call system that alerts the appropriate team member’s portable phone. A new monitoring system sends a screen shot of patient vitals and key data to the nurse’s phone. And MyChart Bedside offers hospitalized patients access to a tablet and smart TV to facilitate sending and receiving messages with the care team, accessing test results and education materials, choosing meals, streaming favorite shows, playing games or listening to music.

Primary and Specialty Care Providers Next Door

The new Medical Building adjoining the hospital will be home to more than 50 healthcare providers, offering patients and providers convenient access to hospital services. Front Royal Family Practice will relocate to Level Three of the new building on June 25. Orthopedic staff will relocate June 26, and other Multispecialty Clinic providers — cardiology general surgery, pulmonary medicine, urology and vascular surgery – will occupy Level Two on July 16.

New Services

A new Physical Therapy & Sports Performance Department has certified staff and specialized equipment to help patients increase strength and mobility after surgery or injury, athletes gain a competitive edge, and anyone wanting to build stamina and improve conditioning, including “tactical athletes” needing conditioning for jobs in construction, firefighting, law enforcement or the military.

Valley Pharmacy has opened a retail location at the new hospital, located off the main lobby on Level 2. A “Meds-to-Beds” program offers the convenience of direct delivery of medications (and education) to patient’s hospital room before discharge. Staff and community members will also have access to the full-service pharmacy, over-the-counter medications and other products on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Community Support

In addition to facilities and services to treat illness, injury and disease, the new hospital campus is intended to be a source of community health and wellness. Through the philanthropy of local residents Fred and Christine Andreae, a 2.5-mile hiking trail was created behind the hospital, offering a recreational destination with a view for patients, family members, staff members, and the community. The trail is suitable for all ages and ability levels, with an average grade of 7-8%, rest areas, and lower and upper overlooks of Front Royal, the Skyline Drive, and Signal Knob. Another ¼-mile spur connects to the neighboring Warren County Middle School.

Some of the County, Town, Valley Health and media personnel mingling prior to the approximate 10 a.m. start of ceremonies. – Want to go hike the property afterwards? Below, another perspective of the three-story hospital building

More than 150 donors have helped raise nearly $2.5 million to support features such as new beds ergonomically designed to increase comfort and safety, and MyChart Bedside, an innovation that will help patients and families stay informed.

Warren Memorial Hospital invites the community to tour the new facility at an open house on Saturday, June 12, between 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Please reserve a tour time at valleyhealthlink.com/newwmh. Face coverings and social distancing will be required inside the building.

Warren Memorial Hospital’s Lynn Care Center, home to 120 long-term care residents and skilled nursing patients, will continue operating at 1000 North Shenandoah Avenue after the hospital relocates to the new campus. Valley Health is studying options for the vacated hospital, considering community needs and site feasibility.

About Valley Health Warren Memorial Hospital

Since 1951, Warren Memorial Hospital has served residents of Front Royal, Warren, and adjacent counties. In 1993, Warren Memorial affiliated with Valley Health System, a nonprofit network that has grown to include six hospitals, more than 60 medical practices and Urgent Care centers, outpatient rehabilitation and fitness, medical transport, long-term care, and home health. Valley Health serves a rural population of more than 500,000 in the Northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, the Eastern Panhandle and Potomac Highlands of West Virginia, and western Maryland. As a healthcare provider, employer, and community partner, Valley Health is committed to improving the health of the region. valleyhealthlink.com

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FREE Trauma-Informed Training @ ONLINE
Jun 14 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
FREE Trauma-Informed Training @ ONLINE
WARREN COALITION HOSTS FREE TRAUMA-INFORMED TRAINING The Warren Coalition, in partnership with Northwestern Prevention Collaborative, will offer a free, virtual Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training beginning on June 14th. This course is designed to provide information[...]
Jun
16
Wed
4:00 pm Messy Makers and Art Adventures ... @ microWave Project
Messy Makers and Art Adventures ... @ microWave Project
Jun 16 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Messy Makers and Art Adventures for Kids @ microWave Project
We are bringing back two of our most popular classes for the month of June, Messy Makers and Art Adventures! Messy Makers returns for the month of June on Wednesdays from 4-5 pm. With the warm weather[...]
6:30 pm Diamonds and Pearls Gala @ Holiday Inn & Suites
Diamonds and Pearls Gala @ Holiday Inn & Suites
Jun 16 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Diamonds and Pearls Gala @ Holiday Inn & Suites
You’re invited to Reaching Out Now Leadership Program! Join us as we celebrate the resiliency of our girls. Our current girl leaders will continue to carry the torch, lighting the way for our future girl[...]
Jun
17
Thu
7:00 pm Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Jun 17 @ 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball vs. Purceville Cannons Thursday, June 17th @ 7 PM Bing Crosby Stadium
Jun
19
Sat
7:00 pm Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Jun 19 @ 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball vs. Woodstock River Bandits Saturday, June 19th @ 7 PM Bing Crosby Stadium
Jun
20
Sun
1:00 pm A Benefit for James @ Virginia Beer Museum
A Benefit for James @ Virginia Beer Museum
Jun 20 @ 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
A Benefit for James @ Virginia Beer Museum
 
1:00 pm Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 20 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. What’s that buzzing? Meet with local apiarists of the Beekeepers of Northern Shenandoah (BONS) and discover the art of Apiculture (a.k.a. Beekeeping). This monthly program series examines all aspects of beekeeping from hive[...]
Jun
21
Mon
9:00 am Stop Motion Animation @ Code Ninjas
Stop Motion Animation @ Code Ninjas
Jun 21 @ 9:00 am – Jun 25 @ 12:00 pm
Stop Motion Animation @ Code Ninjas
Stop Motion Animation Experiment with video production through a variety of mediums including Claymation, LEGO® Minifigures, pipe cleaner creatures, and much more! Ninjas will capture images frame-by-frame and produce videos in a rapid prototyping style.[...]
1:08 pm Summer At Sacred Heart @ Sacred Heart
Summer At Sacred Heart @ Sacred Heart
Jun 21 @ 1:08 pm – 2:08 pm
Summer At Sacred Heart @ Sacred Heart
Come check out the biggest camp selection in Winchester! Over 57-week-long camps are offered on a rotating basis, from June 21 through August 13, for kids ages 3-13. Extended care options are available. We offer[...]
6:00 pm FREE Trauma-Informed Training @ ONLINE
FREE Trauma-Informed Training @ ONLINE
Jun 21 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
FREE Trauma-Informed Training @ ONLINE
WARREN COALITION HOSTS FREE TRAUMA-INFORMED TRAINING The Warren Coalition, in partnership with Northwestern Prevention Collaborative, will offer a free, virtual Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training beginning on June 14th. This course is designed to provide information[...]