By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — A group of volunteers will soon be launching a capital campaign to raise $500,000 for the Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center’s $12 million building project.
The capital campaign is part of the requirement for a low-interest loan from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development.
“We are expected to run a capital campaign to raise money as part of our USDA loan,” said Jill Gengler, the Colfax Health and Rehab administrator, at a recent meeting of the capital campaign committee.
Gengler said when she first started working as the administrator six years ago, she was already getting questions about whether there were plans for an assisted living facility in Colfax.
The 60,000-square-foot CHRC building project includes a 40-bed skilled nursing unit with private rooms and private baths; a rehabilitation area for people recovering from surgery that requires therapy, such as hip or knee replacement; a Community-Based Residential Facility (CBRF) that will house residents with Alzheimer’s disease who do not have other medical issues; and an assisted living facility with 12 apartments.
The separate areas — skilled nursing, the CBRF and the assisted living apartments — will have their own separate entrances and will eventually be identified by separate names.
The facility will feature smaller dining rooms and more family areas to build on the concept of smaller neighborhoods rather than one large building.
“It is amazing that we are able to bring this kind of a project to Colfax,” Gengler said.
The assisted living facility will have one-bedroom apartments with a full kitchen and dining room. Two of the apartments will be larger to accommodate a couple, she said.
When the new facility is finished, all together, there will be room for 70 people among the skilled nursing unit, the CBRF and the assisted living apartments, Gengler said.
Gengler noted that she already has a waiting list for the assisted living apartments.
“(The government) has made a concerted effort to improve long-term care facilities. The goal is to reduce the number of skilled nursing (beds) because people do better in other environments (such as assisted living or a CBRF),” she said.
It has come to the attention of the Colfax Messenger that some newspaper readers who live out of town are not quite sure where the new facility is being built.
The new nursing home facility is on the south side of Colfax, directly behind Viking Bowl and right next to Colfax Prairie Homes. It is across the road from Bremer Bank and Dairy State Bank and is located on land that was once part of the Henderson farm.
Members of the Colfax Health and Rehab capital campaign committee will soon be contacting a variety of individuals and businesses — not just from Colfax, but from this region and beyond.
Patrick Rebman, a Colfax resident who worked as a professional fund-raiser for 12 years and is the co-owner of the Pourhouse in Elk Mound, has agreed to provide assistance to Colfax Health and Rehab for conducting the capital campaign.
“We can’t do this through bake sales,” Rebman noted.
Money raised through the capital campaign will be used for equipment, furnishings and landscaping, Gengler said.
The capital campaign for Colfax Health and Rehab is expected to run 10 months and be finished by the end of October.
Residents from Colfax Health and Rehab must be moved into the new facility by August 13, 2013.
The August 13 date is significant because Colfax Health and Rehab must be relocated by then or else the existing facility must be hard-wired with a sprinkler system for fire suppression.
The hard-wired sprinkler system is the same deadline that the Dunn County Health Care Center is facing.
“This is a perfectly fine building, but the concrete block structure makes it difficult and cost prohibitive to remodel. Besides that, it is not meeting the needs of our residents,” she said, noting that people prefer to have their own private rooms and private baths rather than sharing a room and a bathroom with another resident.
Remodeling the existing facility would cost nearly as much as building a new facility, Gengler said.
Part of the reason that remodeling is so expensive is because crews can only work at certain times of the day so that residents are not disturbed by construction noise. The residents must also be moved to a different part of the facility while their area is being remodeled, and crews must take great care that construction dust and other debris stays out of the nursing home facility, she explained.
Del Gunderson, a member of the CHRC board of directors, noted that the state has provided incentive grants that will help fund the new facility.
“The state will not reimburse us to remodel, but we will get reimbursed for building,” Gunderson said.
The Mayo Health System clinic attached to the west side of Colfax Health and Rehab will be staying where it is currently located.
Because of funding received by the clinic, the clinic cannot change its location, Gengler said.
“The clinic’s Medicare status means that it is not able to physically move,” Gunderson added.
The clinic could, however, expand into part of the existing nursing home facility, Gengler said.
Gengler and the Colfax Health and Rehab board of directors also will be looking for suitable tenants to rent other parts of the existing nursing home building.
The new Colfax Health and Rehab location has space available to build if the clinic should ever be in a position where it could move and wants to move, Gengler noted.
In the meantime, the new nursing home facility will have exam rooms available and doctors will come to the new facility to do their rounds, just as they do at the existing facility, she said.
As one member of the capital campaign committee noted, raising money for the new facility is a continuation of the tradition that built the existing nursing home in Colfax.
Early in the 1960s, area residents realized that Colfax needed a nursing home facility.
Shares of stock were sold to fund the construction of the nursing home, and when Colfax Health and Rehab converted to a non-profit organization several years ago, the majority of stockholders turned in their stock to help the new facility rather than requesting payment for their shares, Gengler said.
A total of 50 percent of the certificates — or 226 of the shares — were required to be presented at a meeting of the stockholders in June of 2010. Out of those shares represented, 51 percent were required to vote in favor of converting to not-for-profit in order for the conversion to move forward.
The Internal Revenue Service subsequently granted non-profit status to the Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center after more than 51 percent of the stockholders voted in favor of not-for-profit.
The Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center’s capital campaign committee has selected a motto for the new facility: “Moving Forward — Care Close to Home.”
The capital campaign will be finished in October, but individuals and businesses who choose to donate can spread those donations out over several years, Rebman noted.
Opportunities also will be available for individuals who want to donate shares of stock or other property, Gengler and Rebman said.