While St. Mary’s Home is celebrating its 65th anniversary throughout this year, we’re celebrating another milestone today: The five-year anniversary of the move into our current building. Our dream Home, if you will.
St. Mary’s Home had been in downtown Norfolk for 60 years, first opening in a century-old building in December of 1944 and then moving into a new building in the 1960s. By 2005, a new Home was sorely needed.
“What a blessing the new Home has been to our children, their families and our staff,” said CEO William C. Giermak. At 88,000 square feet, the new Home offers twice the room of the previous building. Since moving to the new Home, the children have spent 25 percent fewer days out at the hospital. The excellent care and caring they receive at St. Mary’s is key, but the bright and beautiful building with more space and the latest systems also contributes to that care, Giermak said.
Preparations for the move into the state-of-the-art building near Sentara Leigh Hospital began months before the big day. Staff talked with the children and young adults of St. Mary’s, sharing photos, reading stories about moving and involving the children in packing their belongings.
On Feb. 11, 2005, the first children were ready to move at 6 a.m. Two paramedic crews from Norfolk moved 10 of the children, while other children moved in vans and school buses. A welcoming committe cheered, clapped and called each child by name as he or she entered the new Home.
The new Home was formally dedicated on March 18, 2005, with then-Gov. Mark R. Warner giving the keynote speech.