By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — It seems like construction just started on the new nursing home in Colfax — and now it’s done.
Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center will be holding a grand opening at the new facility on Park Drive Thursday, September 5.
CHRC officially took possession of the new building in the middle of July, and on July 27, community members attended an open house.
Residents moved from the old nursing home on University Avenue to their new home on August 1.
The grand opening on September 5 begins at 4 p.m., with a dedication ceremony at 4:30 p.m.
The grand opening will include food, refreshments and entertainment and will conclude at 6 p.m.
Construction on the new 60,000-square-foot $11 million facility began in late June last year with a ground-breaking ceremony.
By early fall, the frame had been constructed, and by Christmas, the building was closed in. In May and June of this year, construction crews were working on the final phase of the project.
The old Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center on University Avenue had 50 beds; the new facility has room for 70 people.
Although construction crews started moving dirt at the end of June in 2012, construction on the foundation could not begin until the village approved a conditional use permit following a public hearing on July 23 of last year.
Funding for the project came through the United States Department of Agriculture and through AgStar Financial Services.
The construction contract was awarded to Market and Johnson, and Architectural Design Group out of Menomonie designed the new nursing home.
The new Colfax Health and Rehab building has one main cooking kitchen, and meals are served family style in small dining rooms.
The outside of the new Colfax Health and Rehab facility has been designed to look like a house and not an institution.
The new Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center includes a 40-bed skilled nursing unit with private rooms and private baths; a rehabilitation area for people recovering from surgery that requires rehabilitation, such as hip or knee replacement; a Community-Based Residential Facility (CBRF) for residents with Alzheimer’s disease who do not have other medical issues; and an assisted living facility with 12 apartments.
The facility features smaller dining rooms and more family areas to build on the concept of smaller neighborhoods rather than one large building.
The assisted living facility has one-bedroom apartments with a full kitchen and dining room. Two of the apartments are larger to accommodate a couple.
Area Nursing Home
The former Colfax Health and Rehab facility on University Avenue started out as the Area Nursing Home and opened in the mid-1960s.
The new facility is one-and-a-half times bigger than the old nursing home.
The old facility is built of concrete blocks, making it both difficult and expensive to remodel.
Federal regulations also required that the old nursing home be hard-wired for a fire-suppression sprinkler system by August 13 of this year.
Remodeling the old facility would have cost nearly as much as building a new nursing home. Part of the reason that remodeling is so expensive is because crews could 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.
CHRC was able to take advantage of incentive grants from the state that were available for new facilities but not for remodeled facilities.
Unfortunately, the clinic at the nursing home facility on University Avenue must remain in that building because of its Medicare status and the funding it receives.
The new facility has exam rooms available, and doctors will come to the new facility to do their rounds, just as they did at the old nursing home.
The 23-acre site of the new nursing home has plenty of room for expansion if more assisted living apartments are needed in the future.
The facility includes two courtyards: one for the CBRF portion of the building and one for residents in the rest of the building.
In January of this year, Colfax Health and Rehab formed a capital campaign committee to raise $500,000 for the new nursing home.
Running a capital campaign was a requirement of the funding that came through USDA.
The capital campaign committee selected the motto “Moving Forward — Care Close to Home.”
As of June of this year, the capital campaign committee had raised $135,000.
The goal of the capital campaign is to raise $500,000 over three years.
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.
Weber died earlier this summer of ovarian cancer.
Patrick Rebman helped coordinate the capital campaign.
Rebman 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.
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), committee members have stressed that any amount is truly welcome.
To facilitate building a new facility and to become eligible for certain funding opportunities, Colfax Health and Rehab acquired non-profit status.
Being a non-profit meant that Colfax Health and Rehab would be eligible to borrow money at a much lower interest rate, would allow the facility to take advantage of rural development grants, and would allow the facility to raise money through tax deductible donations.
In the early 1960s, Area Nursing Home issued stocks to help raise funds to build a nursing home in Colfax.
Community residents believed it was a good idea to have a nursing home “at home,” and did, indeed, buy shares of nursing home stock.
To achieve non-profit status, a total of 50 percent of the remaining stock certificates in Area Nursing Home — 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.
Just inside the door at the new Colfax Health and Rehab building on Park Drive is a plaque containing the names of all of those who agreed to turn in their stocks so Area Nursing Home (doing business as Colfax Health and Rehab) could become a non-profit.
During the early 1960s, the Area Nursing Home board of directors authorized 1,200 shares of stock.
As of the June of 2010 stockholder’s meeting, 452 stock certificates remained outstanding that had been purchased for $50 each.
The Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center’s board of directors announced in June of 2011 that 19 acres had been purchased from Don and Marcia Henderson as the site for the new nursing home.
The board of directors also executed an offer to purchase 4.5 acres from West CAP within the village limits adjoining the Henderson property.
The Henderson property was located in the Town of Colfax, and the Colfax Village Board held a public hearing about annexing the property on October 24, 2011.
The annexation went into effect upon publication in the Colfax Messenger in the November 2 issue.
The annexed parcel for the new nursing home was subsequently zoned A5 as a multiple-family residential district.
In August of 2012, the Village of Colfax and the Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center signed a developer’s agreement that included CHRC paying $67,000 toward the $250,000 Park Drive project.
The developer’s agreement spells out the obligations of both entities concerning Colfax Health and Rehab’s project to build a new skilled nursing facility, rehabilitation center and assisted living apartments.
According to the document, the developer’s agreement is contingent upon Colfax Health and Rehab’s willingness to enter into a separate Payment in Lieu of Taxes (“PILOT”) agreement with the village.
Colfax Health and Rehab’s payment of $67,000 was a one-time payment for infrastructure along Park Drive.
The one-time payment will be in addition to the annual PILOT payments.
One question that Jill Gengler, CHRC administrator, was asked many times during the construction phase of the new facility was — “Will they be real apartments?”
Each apartment, which is approximately 400 square feet, has a kitchen, a dining area, a living room, a small patio and a bedroom.
Two of the apartments are larger to accommodate double occupancy for a couple.
Because funding is through USDA, the funding source will not allow an oven in the apartments, although each apartment has a cook top, a microwave, a dishwasher and a refrigerator.
Appliances are provided in the apartments, but otherwise, the apartments are unfurnished.
Amenities included with the residential care apartments are an emergency call system; all utilities (individually controlled heat and air conditioning, electric, water and garbage); a wellness center; hair salon (services billed directly by the beautician or barber); private dining room; individual secure mail; lockable storage areas; a laundry room.
The apartments do not have laundry hook-ups, but a laundry room is available to those who are living in the apartments.
Wisconsin code will allow Colfax Health and Rehab to provide a tenant up to 28 hours per week of supportive, personal and nursing services.
If services exceed 28 hours per week, the tenant would have to move to the nursing home part of the facility.
Hospitality services for the residential care apartments include 24-hour-on-site staff to meet scheduled and unscheduled care needs; three meals per day; weekly housekeeping and waste removal (vacuum, dust, sweep and mop and disinfect bathroom and kitchen and dispose of all waste); weekly bed linen service (changing and laundering); activity programs; monthly weight and blood pressure checks; annual registered nurse health assessment and medication review.
Care packages for the residential care apartments are grouped under three tiers ranging from independent for all activities with the exception of showering to maximum assistance.
Additional services include meals delivered to the apartment, guest meals, and weekly personal laundry services.
Medication assistance includes supervision, basic management and complete management.