WINSTON-SALEM -- The Innovation Quarter in downtown Winston-Salem welcomes a new tenant.
Wake Forest Baptist's Nurse Anesthesia Program moved into 525@Vine last month. It's now doubled its space and one student is reminiscing about the past now since she's studying where her father once worked as an R.J. Reynolds employee.
"Studying in some of the buildings that he worked in is pretty special to me because it ties that childhood history into my future and what I'm doing,” Chantenlle Wallin said.
Wallin's father, Odell Pegram, was a metal worker. She used to visit him as a child and recalls a different look and feel of the Reynolds campus.
"Back then they were more warehouse looking, not as colorful,” she said.
One of her lasting memories is the service elevators.
"One of the times that I came to visit my dad in one of the buildings, the elevator got stuck which was characteristic of those types of elevators,” she said. “I don’t get stuck in the elevators now.”
Wallin’s father passed away in 2012 and never saw the renovations but she senses his presence in the buildings.
“As I'm studying and learning, and I know that he'd be proud of what I'm doing and that he'd be excited for what they’ve done with the buildings."
Wake Forest Innovation Quarter President, Eric Tomlinson said Wallin is not the first to connect her past with the present.
“We’ve got many people working here now who’s family members were once workers here or managers and they’re emotionally attached to it,” Tomlinson said. “They think it’s a marvelous rebirth of these old buildings and helping to revitalize downtown Winston-Salem. “
With the nursing program moved in, 525@Vine is now 94 percent leased since opening June 2014.