By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The capital campaign to raise $500,000 for Colfax Health and Rehabilitation’s building project is right on target.
“The fund-raising campaign is going well. We just got another $10,000 donation this morning (June 3), so we’re up to $135,000 in cash and a few donated services,” said Jill Gengler, nursing home administrator.
The goal of the capital campaign is to raise $500,000 over three years.
“At this pace, we’ve reached our goal. The goal for the first year was $100,000, but I think it might end up closer to $200,000. And after this, we’ll keep going,” Gengler said.
Running a capital campaign for the new facility is a requirement of the loan that CHRC received through USDA Rural Development.
“We have Patrick Rebman helping us, and he is worth his weight in gold. He has given us a lot of direction and focus and has saved a lot of time for us in trying to figure out how to go about it,” Gengler said.
Redman is a Colfax resident, co-owner of the Pourhouse in Elk Mound, and has worked on capital campaigns for the Eau Claire Children’s Museum and the Red Cedar Medical Center.
Gengler says the capital campaign committee is comprised of community members who also deserve credit for their efforts at fund-raising.
“I am amazed by that every day. They meet twice a month. They make telephone calls. They put in a lot of time. The energy they have blows me away … they’ve done a great job. We wouldn’t be anywhere without them,” she said.
The capital campaign has a number of naming opportunities available, and while the numbers for those can be somewhat daunting ($250,000 to name the Community Based Residential Facility; $100,000 for the main activity center; $10,000 for the worship center and chapel area), Gengler said any amount is truly welcome.
“Any donation amount is acceptable. All donations will be recognized … we don’t want just big numbers. We are happy with any donation,” she said.
Three in one
The new Colfax Health and Rehab facility is three facilities located under one roof: skilled nursing (what people tend to think of when they think of a nursing home); the Community Based Residential Facility (for people with dementia or who require more supervision); and the assisted living apartments.
A rehabilitation center for people recovering from surgery or a medical issue, such as a heart attack, is part of the new facility, too, and is located in its own area of the building, separate from the other facilities.
The new facility also will have room for more people than the existing CHRC nursing home.
CHRC is downsizing skilled nursing from 50 beds to 40 beds, but because of the CBRF and assisted living, the new facility will have room for 70 people all together.
“When you look at the assisted living, that’s where (certain) folks should be,” Gengler said.
Considering the three options at the new building, “there’s going to be a place for people that’s a better fit than skilled nursing … the question is the appropriate space, because some people can be more independent,” she said.
Age in place
A number of studies have shown that the elderly function better and are healthier if they live somewhere they think of as home.
“Age in place. There have been so many studies proving that if people can be in the same neighborhood, visit the same places, see the same scenery, have the same family members and friends be able to visit them, have their neighbors living next to them, it adds so much to the quality of life,” Gengler said.
When staff members begin working at CHRC, they often know six or eight residents or other staff members, “and that’s what makes a community. I’ve worked in other places where that’s missing. And I can tell you that’s a huge element of what makes (Colfax Health and Rehab) as good as it is. And the new facility will make it even better,” she said.
The concept of “age in place” is the reason that CHRC has adopted the motto, “Care close to home.”
Gengler says that so far, the only negative comments she has heard about the new facility from two different people relates to a misconception that Colfax Health and Rehab is owned and operated by the Village of Colfax.
“The comment was, ‘I am already paying taxes, why am I paying for this?’ … There may be some confusion between Dunn County and (CHRC) … we’ve never been municipally owned,” Gengler said.
In fact, Colfax Health and Rehab started out as Area Nursing Home in the 1960s as a for-profit entity with shareholders.
The facility changed to non-profit status before beginning construction on the new facility. Most of the original stockholders in Area Nursing Home turned in their shares so the facility could apply for non-profit status.
“We’re like a church or a school. We have a board of directors. We don’t have an owner … we’re a charitable organization, and we want to communicate that to people,” Gengler said.
CHRC will officially take possession of the new facility on July 15.
A community open house is planned for July 27.
And on August 1, residents at the existing facility will move into their new home.
“It’s little bit surreal yet that we are actually going to live there. It’s not even 60 days until we move in (August 1),” Gengler said.
Gengler noted that she has received quite a few requests for tours of the new facility but acknowledged that giving tours in an active construction zone is difficult.
“We get a lot of requests for tours, and if I can accommodate them, I do,” she said.
“I hope community members who are interested in seeing the facility will come to the open house,” Gengler said.
The following people are members of the capital campaign committee: Pat Eggert; Del Gunderson; Susan Hill; Judy Horn; Troy Knutson; Mary Ellen Mathews; Andrea Menard; Ron Peterson; Dale Rostamo; Alaine Sonnenberg; Allen Stai; Kathy Tape; Mona Thorson; Bill Tice; Kris Tice; Wendy Weber.