Expansion of care facility, programs taking shape

SUBMITTED PHOTO An overhead view shows the progress on the expansion of Spring Valley Living with the frame starting on the 24-unit memory care building behind the facility.
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

Under construction: People homes with care.

“Even though it is winter, the construction is moving forward, and while we are building the structure, we are also building the program that will be offered once open,” stated Spring Valley Living President and CEO Penny Solberg, referring to the new structures being built behind the campus on the north side, evidence that programming that the organization doesn’t currently offer has a tall future as footings are laid and walls go up.

The new construction will complement Spring Valley Living’s existing structure and services in several ways. Since the facility doesn’t have a designated memory care area in the housing with services, this will add that service to the campus. Also, adult day care is growing in need, noted Solberg, and the project will add that service as well.

In early November, Solberg and administration hosted a groundbreaking ceremony to expand the skilled nursing, assisted living and independent living apartments campus to include a memory care unit, adult day program and a new wing on the long-term skilled nursing building. At the groundbreaking, she told attendees the 24-unit memory care is being built with a design and a program that will allow those suffering from memory loss to live to their best. The units are built around a courtyard so there is access to the outside when the weather permits. Most of the units are 350 square feet, with their own bathroom and a kitchenette, and there are a couple of units designed for the possibility of couples living together.

The adult day area will be attached to the memory care building to care for up to five people a day, with programming specific to their needs, to assist families who need to go to work or have other things they need to do.

“This is something that they have in other places, but now, we’ll have it in Fillmore County,” Solberg said.

The nursing home wing addition is to provide a more modern long-term care wing that can also be used for short stay rehab if the facility’s temporary care unit, Woodland Path, is full. The 12 units in this new wing will have their own bathrooms and shower.

“This will free up rooms that have shared bathrooms to be used as treatment rooms, education rooms for our staff, and the configuration of rooms in Sunny Lane will allow for rooms that could house couples or those that would like a roommate, but the majority of the rooms will be private,” Solberg said. “Nursing homes in the 1970s were built for efficiency – there were shared bathrooms, and the rooms were small – but we’ll add those 12 units in long-term care so people will have their own bathrooms. We’ll still have a few double rooms, but a very few.”

This building project has been funded through the cooperation of the city of Spring Valley in facilitating tax-exempt revenue bonds, which has been the case for past projects. Also, the Department of Human Services awarded a Live Well at Home grant for the memory care unit in the amount of $350,000.

Joseph Construction, of Austin, is managing the construction, and Wold Architects has designed the project and was involved in the various phases of growth for Spring Valley Living.

“We will be taking reservations for the memory care units right away, with anticipation of opening in early fall 2020. This will also be the case for the adult day program. There will be updates on the progress of the construction posted in the three main entrances of the existing building,” she added.

The project that will make way for the skilled nursing expansion, memory care and adult day care programs to serve those who need a helping hand each day has risen from the ground even as the snow flies.

“Since getting the permits from the state of Minnesota, progress has been great. We are a bit behind and do not have an exact completion date, but the anticipated opening date for the memory care is tentatively Oct. 1,” Solberg said. “The memory care will be shelled up by spring, and the added wing of the nursing home will be started by spring; currently, we are working on the memory care and adult day build.”

The memory care unit and new nursing home wing already have a waiting list, but Solberg shared that interested persons should contact SVL’s vice president, Vera Ndumbe, at 507-346-1242, e-mail vera@springvalleyliving.org or log onto the SVL website at www.springvalleyliving.org.

Solberg said that watching the cranes carry construction materials across the north side of the campus is rewarding.

“This is part of a 15-year plan that was established back in 2005, so it is very exciting to see a variation of it come to fruition,” she said.