Carolina Donor Services recently announced plans to build and relocate to a 58,000-square-foot facility on 9.7 acres in Chapel Hill. The company will move from its current space in Durham. Carolina Donor Services spent $2.3 million for the site at 1720 Millhouse Road.
“We are excited about our move to Chapel Hill,” said Danielle Niedfeldt, RN, JD, president and CEO of Carolina Donor Services through a press release. “Our new office will enable us to better honor the gifts of life from our donors, increase our meeting spaces, serve our communities, and provide additional surgical suites to ultimately save and heal more lives.”
Director of Marketing and Communications Chuck Heald attributes the growth to the organization’s rapid success. He said much of the larger facility will come from adding recovery suites, which will enable the recovery of both tissue and organs.
“In the place we are now, we have only one recovery suite,” Heald said. “And we’re only doing tissue. So, we can only do the recovery on one tissue donor at a time. This larger space will accommodate our needs so much better.”
Heald said the location was chosen for its easy access to Interstate 40 and will be centrally located between the four transplant centers of Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, Duke University Medical Center in Durham and UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill.
“It’s in an area where we felt we were able to get a nice piece of property that will allow us to do what we need to do to save lives,” Heald said, “but also provide us with the ability to have a memorial area or garden, where we will honor and pay respects to tissue and organ donors. Families that want to come out and celebrate the life of their loved one, who gave the heroic and lifesaving gift through an organ or tissue donation, then they will be able to do that.”
A Zoning Compliance Application was submitted to Chapel Hill. Upon approval, Carolina Donor Services will close on the property and begin construction on the building, which will house 70 of its 130 employees and replace its current 12,000-square-foot space.
Carolina Donor Services educates the public and health care professionals and increases the number of registered organ, eye and tissue donors. Additionally, it facilitates the recovery of organs and tissue for lifesaving transplants and provides grief support to its donor families.
“It’s a fascinating field,” Heald said. “I am very passionate about it. I come to work each day knowing that what I do has an impact in saving people’s lives. My job is to get people registered to become donors. 99.9 percent of people make that decision at the DMV every eight years when they renew their driver’s license. That’s why we work really closely with them as a partner. We work closely with funeral homes, all the hospitals systems and in particular, the 10 largest hospitals in our service area provide us with about 85 percent of our organ donors. So we concentrate on those particular health systems quite a bit, educating doctors and nurses about the power of donation.”
Currently, nearly 115,000 men, women and children are awaiting lifesaving transplants across the nation. For more information about Carolina Donor Services or to register to become an organ, eye and tissue donor, visit www.CarolinaDonorServices.org.