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The Tidelands Health Newsroom

Published on February 22, 2004

Georgetown Hospital System Commits $1 Million to Assist With HGTC Healthcare Wing

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Georgetown SC –Building on a history of collaborative initiatives to provide expanded healthcare education for the residents of Georgetown county and the surrounding area, Horry-Georgetown Technical College and Georgetown Hospital System announced jointly today that Georgetown Hospital System has committed $1 million toward the construction of a new healthcare education wing at the College’s Georgetown Campus.

“We cannot adequately express how excited we are to have received such a generous and meaningful commitment from Georgetown Hospital system,” said HGTC President H. Neyle Wilson. “The $1 million pledge will be the fiscal foundation upon which we will construct a new dedicated healthcare education wing that should serve the area’s needs for the immediate future and for years to come.”

The wing will be named in honor of Frances Eleanor (Ellie) Shaul Armstrong, according to Francis B. Ford Dr., chairman, Georgetown Hospital System Board of Trustees.

According to Ford, Ellie Armstrong’s personal interest in healthcare and a deep affection for and connection with Georgetown Memorial Hospital were among considerations which influenced the decision to name the new wing in her honor.

A registered nurse, Mrs. Armstrong later trained as a nurse-anesthetist during World War II when military deployments depleted many hospitals of operating room staff.

Mrs. Armstrong’s late husband, William G. Armstrong, MD, was Georgetown County Memorial Hospital’s first surgeon. Ellie Armstrong also worked in the hospital’s operating room. Later, she volunteered for more than 25 years at Smith Medical Clinic at Baskervill. Mrs. Armstrong is a charter member of Georgetown Hospital System’s Women’s Board.

“Ellie Armstrong has been a champion for our hospital in many ways through the years. We are excited about this opportunity and believe it is particularly appropriate to name this new wing in her honor,” Ford added.

This is not the first time the College has been the recipient of funding from Georgetown Hospital System: approximately two years ago, the organizations partnered to expand Registered Nursing and other healthcare curriculum programs at the Georgetown Campus, including Surgical Technology and Limited Radiologic Technology. This growth in healthcare education options has resulted in a larger pool of local, qualified healthcare professionals for the area. At that time, Georgetown Hospital System allocated $300,000 to the effort, and sponsored and facilitated the College’s receipt of a $525,000 grant from the Duke Endowment.

“Georgetown Hospital System is committed to providing quality healthcare for our community. By partnering with HGTC in this manner, we are working to ensure expanded local access to healthcare education,” according to Bruce P. Bailey, CEO, Georgetown Hospital System. “We believe this will also be helpful in training local residents and providing them with additional job and career opportunities,” he added.

“The College, its students and the community owe so much to Georgetown Hospital System,” Wilson said. “They are educational partners in the truest sense, recognizing and financially supporting our desire to expand healthcare education and provide quality healthcare professionals for local employers.”

The pledge made by Georgetown Hospital System will be paid over several years. The College is seeking the necessary approvals to allow construction of the much-needed wing as early as fall of this year.

Though concept plans for the new wing have not yet been finalized, HGTC anticipates the facility will include classrooms, skills labs and science labs dedicated to healthcare education. Further, College officials project that the new facility will meet anticipated healthcare education needs for the next five to seven years.

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Tidelands Health is the largest health care provider in Georgetown and Horry counties. With three hospitals and nearly 50 outpatient locations that stretch from Andrews to North Myrtle Beach, Tidelands Health is improving lives across the Tidelands region.