Chamberlayne school building site to become city’s third Planned Parenthood clinic

PlannedParenthoodChamberlayne

The former Brook Hill School at Chamberlayne and Azalea avenues is planned to be razed to make way for a new Planned Parenthood health center. (Jonathan Spiers photo)

The site of an old school building at Richmond’s northern boundary is planned to become a new clinic for a reproductive healthcare nonprofit.

The Virginia League of Planned Parenthood has struck a deal with the city to acquire the former Brook Hill School site at Chamberlayne and Azalea avenues, where the nonprofit is planning its third Richmond health center.

The school building would be razed to make way for the new facility, which would add to VLPP’s existing health centers in Richmond’s West End and East End. The nonprofit also has health centers in Hampton and Virginia Beach.

The city has declared the 1-acre property at 4929 Chamberlayne Ave. as surplus and plans to sell it to VLPP for $10 through a deal in which VLPP would commit to constructing a $6 million, 10,000-square-foot facility that’s projected to accommodate at least 12,000 visits per year and create at least 20 jobs.

The facility would provide, according to a city memo, “family planning, primary care and gender-affirming care with subsidized fees to make care affordable to city residents who do not have insurance or whose insurance doesn’t cover the care they need or have high deductible plans.”

The project stems from a resolution supported by Mayor Levar Stoney and approved by City Council in 2022 expressing the city’s opposition to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that made abortion a protected right under the Constitution.

The resolution called for the Virginia General Assembly to protect and expand abortion access in the state, and Stoney and the city’s human services department extended their support to VLPP, which worked with the city to identify the Chamberlayne site as a suitable location for a new clinic.

Paulette McElwain 1

Paulette McElwain

CEO Paulette McElwain said the additional location would help VLPP provide its services to more people in Richmond and from across the country. According to the city memo, VLPP provides reproductive healthcare and primary healthcare services to tens of thousands of Virginians annually, as well as “evidence informed, age-appropriate sexuality education programming to youth and young adults.”

“In light of the various bans on reproductive and gender-affirming healthcare in nearly all of Virginia’s surrounding states, Mayor Stoney’s administration worked with us to identify property where we could expand access to critical reproductive and primary healthcare,” McElwain said.

“We plan to use the property to build a new health center that will allow us to provide comprehensive healthcare to approximately 5,000 Richmond-area residents and folks traveling from across the South to access care,” she said.

McElwain said the former school building would need to be replaced to provide the facility, which would be similar to VLPP’s East End Health Center at 1122 N. 25th St. The West End facility is at 201 N. Hamilton St.

PlannedParenthoodEastEnd

The facility will be similar to VLPP’s East End Health Center on 25th Street. (Image courtesy VLPP)

“To provide the healthcare experience the community needs and deserves, we anticipate it will be more cost effective to build from the ground up rather than renovate the current building,” McElwain said.

Once called the REAL School as well as Brook Hill School, the two-story, 6,500-square-foot building was deemed to be in “decent condition” by Richmond Public Schools, which transferred the property to the city in 2022. A 2021 committee report of vacant RPS properties also noted, however, that any renovation “would likely incur significant costs” including a new roof, removal of old wiring and potentially hazardous material.

The building was once used to care and treat children with cerebral palsy and at different times housed a program for pregnant girls and a residential program for “emotionally disturbed” teenagers, according to the RPS report, which indicates its last use was in the late 1970s.

The city has assessed the property’s taxable value at $1.24 million.

An ordinance to allow the property transfer from the city to VLPP is on the agenda for the Planning Commission’s next meeting July 16. It’s scheduled to go before City Council on July 22, with a public hearing to be held prior to a vote.

McElwain said a project timeline has not been established. She said VLPP has not engaged a general contractor, architect or other firms at this point.

The health center would add to other developments in the works for the Chamberlayne corridor.

Across Azalea from the site, StyleCraft Homes is preparing to break ground on its Crossings at Mulberry project, a 160-unit townhome development planned on 16 acres beside and south of the post office on Wilmer Avenue. Farther north, Crescent Development and Spy Rock Real Estate Group are developing Helios Apartments, a 186-unit income-restricted complex.

In recent years, the area at Chamberlayne and Azalea has lost a Walmart Neighborhood Market and a Walgreens pharmacy that likewise closed.

PlannedParenthoodChamberlayne

The former Brook Hill School at Chamberlayne and Azalea avenues is planned to be razed to make way for a new Planned Parenthood health center. (Jonathan Spiers photo)

The site of an old school building at Richmond’s northern boundary is planned to become a new clinic for a reproductive healthcare nonprofit.

The Virginia League of Planned Parenthood has struck a deal with the city to acquire the former Brook Hill School site at Chamberlayne and Azalea avenues, where the nonprofit is planning its third Richmond health center.

The school building would be razed to make way for the new facility, which would add to VLPP’s existing health centers in Richmond’s West End and East End. The nonprofit also has health centers in Hampton and Virginia Beach.

The city has declared the 1-acre property at 4929 Chamberlayne Ave. as surplus and plans to sell it to VLPP for $10 through a deal in which VLPP would commit to constructing a $6 million, 10,000-square-foot facility that’s projected to accommodate at least 12,000 visits per year and create at least 20 jobs.

The facility would provide, according to a city memo, “family planning, primary care and gender-affirming care with subsidized fees to make care affordable to city residents who do not have insurance or whose insurance doesn’t cover the care they need or have high deductible plans.”

The project stems from a resolution supported by Mayor Levar Stoney and approved by City Council in 2022 expressing the city’s opposition to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that made abortion a protected right under the Constitution.

The resolution called for the Virginia General Assembly to protect and expand abortion access in the state, and Stoney and the city’s human services department extended their support to VLPP, which worked with the city to identify the Chamberlayne site as a suitable location for a new clinic.

Paulette McElwain 1

Paulette McElwain

CEO Paulette McElwain said the additional location would help VLPP provide its services to more people in Richmond and from across the country. According to the city memo, VLPP provides reproductive healthcare and primary healthcare services to tens of thousands of Virginians annually, as well as “evidence informed, age-appropriate sexuality education programming to youth and young adults.”

“In light of the various bans on reproductive and gender-affirming healthcare in nearly all of Virginia’s surrounding states, Mayor Stoney’s administration worked with us to identify property where we could expand access to critical reproductive and primary healthcare,” McElwain said.

“We plan to use the property to build a new health center that will allow us to provide comprehensive healthcare to approximately 5,000 Richmond-area residents and folks traveling from across the South to access care,” she said.

McElwain said the former school building would need to be replaced to provide the facility, which would be similar to VLPP’s East End Health Center at 1122 N. 25th St. The West End facility is at 201 N. Hamilton St.

PlannedParenthoodEastEnd

The facility will be similar to VLPP’s East End Health Center on 25th Street. (Image courtesy VLPP)

“To provide the healthcare experience the community needs and deserves, we anticipate it will be more cost effective to build from the ground up rather than renovate the current building,” McElwain said.

Once called the REAL School as well as Brook Hill School, the two-story, 6,500-square-foot building was deemed to be in “decent condition” by Richmond Public Schools, which transferred the property to the city in 2022. A 2021 committee report of vacant RPS properties also noted, however, that any renovation “would likely incur significant costs” including a new roof, removal of old wiring and potentially hazardous material.

The building was once used to care and treat children with cerebral palsy and at different times housed a program for pregnant girls and a residential program for “emotionally disturbed” teenagers, according to the RPS report, which indicates its last use was in the late 1970s.

The city has assessed the property’s taxable value at $1.24 million.

An ordinance to allow the property transfer from the city to VLPP is on the agenda for the Planning Commission’s next meeting July 16. It’s scheduled to go before City Council on July 22, with a public hearing to be held prior to a vote.

McElwain said a project timeline has not been established. She said VLPP has not engaged a general contractor, architect or other firms at this point.

The health center would add to other developments in the works for the Chamberlayne corridor.

Across Azalea from the site, StyleCraft Homes is preparing to break ground on its Crossings at Mulberry project, a 160-unit townhome development planned on 16 acres beside and south of the post office on Wilmer Avenue. Farther north, Crescent Development and Spy Rock Real Estate Group are developing Helios Apartments, a 186-unit income-restricted complex.

In recent years, the area at Chamberlayne and Azalea has lost a Walmart Neighborhood Market and a Walgreens pharmacy that likewise closed.

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Michael Boyer
Michael Boyer
2 days ago

Please explain what “gender-affirming”is.

Steve Cook
Steve Cook
2 days ago
Reply to  Michael Boyer

I do it every time I take a shower.

Brett Hunnicutt
Brett Hunnicutt
2 days ago
Reply to  Michael Boyer

Gender-affirming care is medically necessary, evidence-based care that uses a multidisciplinary approach to help a person transition from their assigned gender – the one the person was designated at birth – to their affirmed gender – the gender by which one wants to be known.

Frank Ameherst
Frank Ameherst
1 day ago

so fantasy – gotcha

Zach Rugar
Zach Rugar
1 day ago
Reply to  Frank Ameherst

This world has gone to crap man.

Stephen Weisensale
Stephen Weisensale
2 days ago

From a long time supporter, welcome to the Northside. Glad to see this corner being redeveloped and put to a good use.

Paulette McElwain
Paulette McElwain
1 day ago

Hi Stephen! I live in north side too! I’m glad to have a project close to where I live. Thanks for all of the support!

Michael Morgan-Dodson
Michael Morgan-Dodson
1 day ago

Why would you not build an addition on the back right (connect to the old) school. Construction and materials are so expensive. The schools internal walls can come down/open up as needed. It is solid building with good bones. Just wonder why spend the money on the demo

Stephen Weisensale
Stephen Weisensale
1 day ago

Depending on the owner’s program needs and the limitations of the existing structure, demolition and new construction can in some situations, cost less than an addition and renovation.

Zach Rugar
Zach Rugar
21 hours ago

Would be nicer for an apartment or another business.

Last edited 21 hours ago by Zach Rugar
George MacGuffin
George MacGuffin
1 day ago

“Family planning” like the kind practiced by the tens of millions from south of the border who have been purposefully lured/enticed/brougt here over the last 4 years by the current regime?

Gender affirming “care”?

Meanwhile menopausal women cannot get needed hormone treatment.

Free reassignment surgery for men with mental health issues while legitimate (XX) women cannot get insurance covered breast enhancement surgery as it is considered “cosmetic”.

Upside-down world.

Craig Davis
Craig Davis
1 day ago

We all thank you for your passionate advocacy on behalf of post-menopausal boob jobs!

George MacGuffin
George MacGuffin
1 day ago
Reply to  Craig Davis

My point is that women who suffer from distress due to real or perceived defscts or inferiorities of their breasts can never get insurance or medicare to pay for surgery, but some sad and bored 40 year old man can get hormone cocktails and C-cups.

Zach Rugar
Zach Rugar
22 hours ago

Truth man.

John M Lindner
John M Lindner
1 day ago

Family planning and gender identity are area of high controversy are not areas for which I want my city to use my tax dollars or put their thumb on the scale. This is a distressing story.

Tom Gates
Tom Gates
23 hours ago
Reply to  John M Lindner

I agree John. We know that Planned Parenthood redlines poorer neighborhoods with their locations. I thought we had come farther than the eugenics programs of the 1920s.