LEWISBURG, W.Va. — Better health for local residents is the goal of a new community center opening in Greenbrier County.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was planned for Tuesday evening in Lewisburg for the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine’s new Clingman Center for Community Engagement located off Route 219 in Montwell Commons.
“It’s going to be a hub for community engagement,” said Dr. James Nemitz, president of WVSOM.
“It’s going to be a place that people can come to in the community to learn about how to improve their health and to learn skills as well — things like how to prepare food, how to address their needs as a diabetic.”
Students at WVSOM, including those in elective culinary medicine courses, will be involved in programs on site that will be geared toward people in recovery and, eventually, those developing workforce skills and researching community health.
A commercial teaching kitchen is part of it.
The School of Osteopathic Medicine has signed a lease with the Greenbrier Valley Restoration Project for the site that’s about two blocks from campus in a building originally built on DIY Network’s “Barnwood Builders.”
Under WVSOM, “It’s going to be an exciting, dynamic place that people can gather and work on improving their health and, then, improving the health of the community,” said Nemitz.
The center was named for the late Gwen Clingman, a Lewisburg resident who provided meals to WVSOM students, faculty and administrators at her business, Clingman’s Market, for years at the location that is now Stardust Cafe.
“Gwen has always had this special place in the history of the school,” Dr. Nemitz said.
Clingman’s cousin, Dr. Roland Sharp, was the first president of WVSOM.
Some of their family members were scheduled to attend Tuesday’s ceremony.
“We see our Clingman Center for Community Engagement as a model for the state,” Dr. Nemitz told MetroNews.
“What we want to do is we want to develop programs here, here in Lewisburg, but then push them out to the rest of the state.”