Family donates a historic $10M toward Beebe upgrades

Date Published: 
July 28, 2017

It might be one of the biggest charitable donations ever in Sussex County, and it’s coming from Atlanta, Ga. But the Rollins family hasn’t forgotten its roots in Lewes or their love for Beebe hospital.

That’s why Margaret “Peggy” Rollins and R. Randall Rollins are giving $10 million toward Beebe Healthcare’s planned expansion.

To serve a growing Sussex County, Beebe is making a $180 million investment in renovations and expansions, with groundbreaking expected in autumn of 2018. That includes the $82 million estimated at the medical center in Lewes for the new Rollins Pavilion, which will include new rooms and a new labor-and-delivery wing.

“It truly is a historic moment in Beebe’s 101 years of caring,” said Judy Aliquo, president and CEO of the Beebe Medical Foundation (the hospital’s fundraising arm). “This … is the largest gift Beebe has ever received. It is the largest gift in Sussex County. It is one of the largest gifts in the state of Delaware.”

Across Sussex County, the nonprofit Beebe Healthcare organization includes a nursing school, adult daycare, cancer center, outpatient centers, walk-in care centers, physicians network and more.

“As our community has grown, Beebe has also grown, from a family hospital to a large state-of-the-art healthcare system,” said Bill Lee, board chairman of Beebe Healthcare. “Sussex County is one of the fastest growing communities in the nation.”

And those people need health care.

The overall $180 million expansion will also transform Beebe’s approximately 210 hospital beds into 210 private rooms (between retrofitting the existing rooms and adding more in the Rollins Pavilion).

A long-awaited new Beebe health campus will also open Millville, on Route 17, with a year-round emergency department and a satellite facility of Beebe’s Tunnell Cancer Center, offering radiation and chemotherapy treatment.

Beebe will also create a Rehoboth surgical center for inpatients and outpatients.

“It’s not like we have this huge birth rate, but more people are retiring. We know that people who are retiring tend to use healthcare services at a higher rate than the rest of the population,” Beebe Healthcare President and CEO Jeffrey Fried told the Coastal Point. “So, all of this is part of our plan to continue to serve our community, so that people can continue to remain here in Sussex County for their care.”

A major change is the move to build more rooms and transform the existing double rooms into singles.

“Everybody wants to have a private room, No. 1, because it offers more privacy,” Fried said. “There are crucial conversations that patents and family members have with their caregivers that are much more conformable and should occur in a private setting.”

Besides privacy, single rooms will help the hospital prevent infections from spreading among patients. Plus, if an emergency room patient needs a regular bed, the staff won’t have to juggle to find a roommate of compatible gender or health condition.

Donating the first 12 percent of the building’s $82 million price tag comes with the naming rights for the future Margaret H. Rollins Pavilion. It will replace an existing office building at the corner of Savannah Road and Fourth Street in Lewes.

Beebe had barely announced its plans for expansion in June when the family came forward with the donation.

Hopefully, this gift will encourage others to donate, said Thomas Cooper, foundation chairman.

Beebe is “full of talented, compassionate and caring professionals who routinely deliver life-changing and life-saving services, and that’s what has made and enabled the Beebe reputation,” which has encouraged the Rollinses’ decades of support.

Beebe leaders thanked the Rollins family and everyone in the community who supports the Beebe mission.

“To have somebody who is so supportive in what we do, so interested in helping us, so down-to-earth — we’re just so blessed to have a friend like Peggy and her husband and the rest of their family,” Fried said.

Margaret “Peggy” Hastings Rollins was born at Beebe Hospital and worked there during weekends and after school as a teenager. Two of her children were born there, and she later served as a board member.

The Rollinses themselves eschewed attention at the July 21 announcement of the donation, only releasing a statement: “We are pleased to be able to contribute to this wonderful institution.”

The Ma-Ran Foundation is the couple’s avenue for charitable giving. Margaret Rollins’ name is also on Beebe’s School of Nursing and the new museum at Lewes Public Library. Randall Rollins and his brother Gary are billionaires who oversee the Atlanta-based family business, Rollins Inc., whose subsidiaries include pest-control company Orkin and others.

Details about the hospital and its expansion plans are online at www.beebehealthcare.org.