Here’s the latest on $30M gift bringing therapy garden, aquatics to Atrium rehab center

·2 min read

A $30 million donation will help create a new 150,000-square-foot specialized hospital at the new Atrium Health Carolinas Rehabilitation facility, including an outdoor therapy garden and an aquatic therapy program.

Charlotte developer Howard “Smoky” Bissell, his wife Margaret, and the Bissell Ballantyne company made the donation in honor of a friend and business associate, the late David Conlan.

The David L. Conlan Center will anchor Carolinas Rehabilitation’s new flagship facility, replacing the current building that was built in the 1970s.

The center will also include 70 private patient rooms, a 9,300-square-foot outpatient clinic and a center for independent living to help patients relearn activities for daily life.

Construction on the center began in September 2020.

“In a very poetic way, Margaret and Smoky are not only honoring one life, but impacting thousands through this memorial gift,” Atrium Health CEO Eugene Woods said in a statement. “The David Conlan name will forever be linked with a state-of-the-art rehabilitation hospital, a place where wounds are healed, medical knowledge is advanced, and lives are rebuilt.”

The $30 million gift will also be used to “advance the reach, geography and efficacy of existing and future rehabilitation services and programs offered by Carolinas Rehabilitation,” according to Atrium.

Carolinas Rehabilitation currently includes five inpatient hospitals and 18 outpatient locations.

“We experienced, first-hand, the excellent, compassionate care that David received during his hospitalization at Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center,” Smoky Bissell said in a statement.

The gift will also support education opportunities at the new Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist School of Medicine coming to Charlotte and the Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute.

The new school will be built on a 20-acre parcel at the intersection of Baxter Street and South McDowell Street, Atrium announced in March. Charlotte is the largest city in the country without a four-year medical school, according to Atrium.

Construction on the school is expected to begin by early 2022. The Charlotte school will host its first class of students in 2024.

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