Planning board approves Vidant Healthplex design

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Vidant Health’s plan to expand into Wilson County crossed a milestone Tuesday as the Wilson Planning Board approved the Vidant Healthplex’s design.

The Greenville-based health provider announced plans last month to construct a 30,000-square-foot healthplex on nine acres at 3724 Raleigh Road Parkway. At the Tuesday night meeting, members of the planning board heard from city staff and the architect on the project about the one-story brick building accented with glass and metal for a contemporary look.

“This is a bookend of the commercial district on Raleigh Road Parkway with the auto dealerships and Ravenswood multi-family project,” said Ellen Hoj, senior urban designer for the city of Wilson.

Board member Charlie Pat Farris Jr. asked about stormwater facilities on the site, but architect Michael Dunn said there will be two depressed areas of grass that will store water after heavy rainfalls and slowly release the water into natural drainage. Dunn noted the areas will not be ponds and will be able to be mowed when not filled with water.

The design was approved without any comment from the public.

Also during the 7 p.m. meeting, the board approved a zoning request for about 2 acres on the 600 block of College Street from medium-density residential to institutional campus development. Janet Holland, assistant director of development services for the city of Wilson, said Barton College has purchased the 10 lots on the northeast side of the street and plans to demolish the houses and combine the land with Barton’s existing campus.

“This was originally part of the College Place subdivision dating back to 1909,” Holland said. “The city of Wilson and Barton College have seen a lot of changes during the last century.”

Attorney Robert Rountree said the property is part of the college’s master plan, but did not go into detail on Barton’s plans for the property.

Barton also is seeking approval from the Wilson City Council to close College Street from the 600 to 620 block, but leave the street open at its intersection with Rountree Street for residents of the corner lot not owned by the college.