Solarium proposed at Northern Hospital

These folks, from left, Charles Vaughn, Brad Gammons, Ned Hill, Bettsee McPhail and Michael Leonard are among local residents hoping to help build a rooftop solarium at North Hospital of Surry County.

Several community members hope to spur a new addition to Northern Hospital of Surry County — a rooftop solarium.

Bettsee McPhail and Carol Burke recently met with hospital administrator Ned Hill to propose the idea.

The solarium, if approved by hospital officials, would be built on the third floor roof, for use by the long-term skilled care and rehabilitation patients.

Solarium therapy is a new trend among equine rehabilitation centers. The light therapy helps to warm the underlying muscles thus fore stimulating blood flow, improving circulation, improving muscle elasticity. Also, the therapy, in horses, has been shown to improve joint stiffness and relieve muscle fatigue.

Burke and McPhail have recruited several former residents of the long-term care floor of the hospital and their families, who are supportive of the project.

” ‘I Built That’ is the campaign slogan we hope to have for our fundraiser,” said McPhail. She said her thoughts behind the slogan is that when people drive by and see the solarium those who donate can point to it and say “I built that.”

Hospital spokesperson Ashly Lancaster said the hospital’s board of directors has not yet put the matter on the board’s agenda for discussion, but Burke and McPhail are opening the officials take up the matter soon. The two said they hope to have the project under way by Christmas.

Eva Queen can be reached at (336) 415-4739 or

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