Press Releases


Contact: Linda Johnson
WCA Hospital Public Relations
(716) 664-8614

Hitting The Bricks Paves Way For
WCA’s New Emergency Department


WCA Hospital
With a special event entitled, “Hitting the Bricks”, WCA Hospital celebrated the history of its historic South Building and the future of the hospital with the impending construction of the new Emergency Department.

Pictured (L to R):  Leonard Franco, MD – Chair of Emergency Department, Emelia Lindquist, RN – Nurse Manager of Emergency Department, Clemont Austin – President of E.E. Austin & Son, Betsy Wright – President/CEO of WCA Hospital, Lillian Vitanza Ney, MD – Chair of Sharing the Gift of Health capital campaign, Judith Burgett – Chair of WCA Hospital Board of Directors, Richard Kimball – NYS Senator Catharine Young’s office, Mayor Sam Teresi – City of Jamestown, Mary Lou Brands and Janice Swanson – W.C.A. School of Nursing Class of 1951.

Jamestown, New York (Thursday, August 5, 2010)—WCA Hospital officials, board leadership, employees, volunteers, local dignitaries, and community guests gathered together on Thursday, August 5th for a special ceremony, ‘Hitting The Bricks: Celebrating Our History & Making Room For Our New Emergency Department’. This unique event paid tribute to the history to the “South Building”, the demolition of which will pave the way for WCA Hospital’s new Emergency Department.

“This commemorative ceremony is a significant step in our vision to enhance patient care in Chautauqua County,” said Betsy T. Wright, WCA Hospital President/CEO. “Today, we have an opportunity to reflect on our 125 year tradition of providing high quality care and pay special tribute to the history of our South Building. We look forward to the construction of our 21st-century Emergency Department which will serve as the future front door of healthcare in our community.”

The WCA Hospital South Building, located off Prather Avenue, officially opened its doors on December 21, 1949 as the W.C.A. School of Nursing. The original training school for nurses opened in 1890, but the school was in danger of losing its license. Its facilities did not conform to modern standards. A master expansion plan was drawn up that led to a new School of Nursing building (currently the “South Building”) designed contemporary student classrooms, laboratories, a library, and semi-private female-only dormitory rooms located on the second and third floor of the building. According to excerpts in the W.C.A. School of Nursing Yearbook in 1951, “the new school proved to be a lovely Christmas gift for all.”

“Our house-mother gave us candy and lots of love,” recalls Betty Trippi, one of the first students who resided in the new modernized school. “There was a large spacious living room on the first floor of the South Building where we could entertain our boyfriends although there was a strict house rule that boys were never allowed to enter beyond that point.”

In 1964, the School of Nursing closed, making way for the Jamestown Community College’s Associate in Arts degree in Nursing. In 1969, two floors in the former nursing school building were remodeled to provide a self care unit for patients needing minimal care.

Many additional healthcare services, programs, and physician medical offices have been part of the illustrious history of the WCA Hospital South Building, including WCA School of Nursing, Anesthesiologists’ office, Chemotherapy/Clinical Trials program, computer training room, Diabetes Self-Management Education program, Quality Assurance & Infection Control services, Information Systems, Lifeline, Medical Records/Health Information Management, Occupational Health, Social Work, Speech and Hearing, Staff Development, Emergency Trauma Services, Wellness, and various physician and medical education offices.

“The South Building is rich with so many memories,” said Betsy. “We are saddened to see it go, but excited to be on the forefront of tremendous health advancements that will not only keep pace with our community’s needs, but continue to build upon our rich 125 year tradition of outstanding care.”

WCA’s Emergency Department is the main source of health care for a large percentage of area residents and provides much of the medical care for patients without medical insurance.  It plays a key role in public health surveillance as well as disaster preparation and response.

The WCA Hospital South Building is being prepared for its demolition to make room for the new Emergency Department. Featuring a 21st-century design, 18,000-square-foot Emergency Department will feature 28 private treatment rooms and two private triage rooms, along with a large welcoming entrance. The new Emergency Department will meet the present and future volume demands of the community, offering patients state-of-the-art care and treatment.

Mrs. Wright explains that the new Emergency Department is critical to the organization and central to the services it provides. “Having an Emergency Department capable of meeting today’s as well as tomorrow’s, healthcare needs is fundamental to the health and safety of our community.”

Chaired by Lillian Vitanza Ney, MD, Sharing the Gift of Health: The Capital Campaign for Our Emergency Department is making great strides. To date, WCA Hospital has secured $12.4 million dollars toward the $16.5 million dollar capital campaign goal.

“We would not be where we are today without the dedication and support of a myriad of volunteers and donors,” states Dr. Ney. “This event provides tangible evidence that WCA’s rebirth is taking place and gives us another opportunity to thank all those who are making it possible.”

It was also announced that local building contractor E.E. Austin & Son, Inc. has been selected as the general contractor for WCA Hospital’s new Emergency Department. The building project will be implemented in phases to prevent any disruption to WCA Hospital’s current emergency services.

An ice cream social followed the ‘Hitting The Bricks’ tribute.

For information on how you can support the Sharing the Gift of Health capital campaign, please contact Karl Sisson, WCA Director of Development, at (716) 664-8423 or, or visit WCA Hospital’s web site at

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