That tradition continues to grow, and to be enhanced at multiple communities by significant capital projects. Over the past year, these projects have been sequenced at strategic intervals to enable additional growth, expansion of services and planning far into the future of United Church Homes.
Chapel Hill Community in Canal Fulton, Ohio, last year expanded its independent living cottage accommodations, with 12 newly built cottages that were all fully occupied within 60 days of being finished. With a hearty “here we grow again,” eight additional cottages are slated to be constructed in 2016, an indication of renewed interest in distinctive residences on a beautiful campus. Upon completion, the capacity of Kroft Commons cottages will grow to 49 units, up from 29 units just a year ago.
The additional cottages created greater urgency to upgrade and redesign the Basler Community Center, where Kroft Commons residents gather for meals and fellowship. With that growth in mind, UCH recently finished a $425,000 renovation project to expand Basler and improve the dining experience for residents. Meals can be prepared and served immediately to residents by a dedicated wait staff and chef, making fine dining available for residents. The project also included new carpeting, fixtures and furnishings, all designed to enhance the dining experience of the residents.
Fairhaven Community in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, recently completed Phase I of a $5.75 million project to renovate more than 93,000 square feet of space, effectively refurbishing all interior spaces of a structure that was newly erected in the early 1950’s. This project marks the first time Fairhaven has been materially renovated in 25 years.
The project involved gutting and rebuilding every resident room, common areas, dining rooms, lobby and administrative offices. No surface was left untouched.
Phase II of the project consists of three components: new construction of a 6,000-square-foot behavioral health unit, plus renovation of the existing memory support unit and the Fast Track Rehab area. The construction of the new behavioral health unit was completed in September, and is currently undergoing inspections and licensing protocols. The coordination of new construction, renovation of existing spaces, and the placement of residents into appropriate rooms is a complicated chess game involving multiple moving parts, pieces and people.
The end result of Phase II, scheduled to be completed in Summer 2016, will provide behavioral health and memory care residents with private room accommodations that are 20 percent larger than they are now. Also, additional purpose-specific rooms that are designed, equipped and staffed to meet the specialized needs of our residents will be included in the renovation. Exterior improvements will include landscaping and a garden area.
Finally, through the generosity of some friends of Fairhaven, we have planned a renovation of the chapel. We will completely renew and upgrade the worship and spiritual space on the campus. This too will enhance the residents’ spiritual lives and campus religious programs.
Parkvue Community in Sandusky, Ohio, has been experiencing non-stop construction and renovation projects for the past two years, and is scheduled to continue into 2016-17. This initiative began with a $400,000 gift from Parkvue’s principal benefactor, Ruth Frost Parker, before she passed away in February 2015. This project provided for complete renovations to the Fast Track Rehab unit, including a new therapy gym where physical, occupational and speech therapy services are provided, and the development of 19 private resident rooms, as well as a new dining area and nursing station.
Once that project was finished, the next initiative at Parkvue involved the renovation of the activities area and the creation of a beautiful meeting space to encourage family engagement when visiting with residents. The area, named Frosty’s Café to honor Mrs. Parker’s nickname as a young woman and student at Wooster College, is extremely popular with residents and guests since opening in May. Frosty’s interior space is integrated with a newly built exterior patio area, and connected by French doors that are automated. These improvements have enhanced the experiences of our rehab patients, long-term residents and their families.
A $2.2 million Aquatic Center, which represents Mrs. Parker’s biggest dream, is currently under construction and will be completed early next year. The new Aquatic Center will feature a therapy and lap pool, as well as a spa pool, locker rooms and an observation deck.
Still on deck for Parkvue are renovations of three other resident care wings in the healthcare center. The project team is already meeting with designers to choose elements for the refurbishing. There are also plans in development to refresh Parkvue Place’s common areas.
As Rev. Kenneth Daniel, president and CEO of United Church Homes, celebrates his fourth year with the organization, there are plans to make other major capital improvements at several communities.
“We spent the first two years focusing on our internal capacity and improving our systems,” said Rev. Daniel. “The past two years we’ve focused on prioritizing where and when to invest our resources. The next few years will emphasize strategically building and sustaining additional growth by both repositioning our legacy campuses and acquiring new communities.”
For several communities — Chapel Hill, Fairhaven, Parkvue and Trinity — master plans have been developed to reposition each campus. These plans involve the building of new community centers, and building additional independent and assisted living accommodations. Some communities may expand their independent living capacity, assuming that other factors — consumer demand, market penetration and land availability — point to future growth.
As these master campus plans evolve in the years ahead, United Church Homes will execute its strategic business plan to have a more balanced portfolio offering the full continuum of care with greater emphasis on shifting the mix toward more independent and assisted living. We are also looking to expand the number of communities we manage for other sponsoring organizations, which will involve both healthcare and senior living communities, and expanding our ministry in affordable housing.
“Our strategy is to grow and expand to serve more people in a way that builds our financial strength and moves us toward the forefront of innovation in senior living services,” said Chuck Mooney, senior vice president of senior living services and COO.
By creating sustainable growth and staying committed to our mission to transform aging by building a culture of community, wholeness and peace, United Church Homes will be well-positioned to build on its tradition of trust. We are looking forward to the next 100 years.