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Glenhaven fire delayed construction by almost a year

By LeAnn R. Ralph

GLENWOOD CITY  —  The fire at Glenhaven’s new facility in January of 2014 ended up adding about ten months to the construction time.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held April 4, 2013, and Glenhaven Long Term Care and Rehabilitation was scheduled to open in mid-June of 2014.

But instead of opening in June of last year, construction was only beginning once again after the fire, and the new 44-bed facility did not open until April of this year.

Shawn DeWitt, a member of the Glenhaven Board of Directors, remembers that the groundbreaking ceremony took place on “a beautiful, sunny day.”

After the groundbreaking, “then it snowed and rained, so it seemed like nothing happened for two months, but of course, that is not correct. We had seventeen inches of snow on May 2, but thankfully, it melted fast,” he said.

“We were going to start excavating the following Monday after the groundbreaking but did not get started until May 7 when tree removal began. Actual earthwork began on May 9, 2013,” DeWitt said.

The ten month delay in the construction ended up costing about $120,000 in interest on the loans for the Glenhaven project, said David Prissel, nursing home administrator.


The concept for the new Glenhaven began in 2009 with the board of directors holding many meetings for strategic planning.

A company called Community Living Solutions helped the board of directors determine what they wanted to do and also helped Glenhaven apply for the incentive money from the state, Prissel said.

After 55 years, Glenhaven needed updating, and the strategic planning meetings revolved around what the community needed and wanted, he said.

Along the way, the Glenhaven Board of Directors also considered “do nothing” scenarios and what would happen to the facility if it continued as it was with no updating, remodeling or new construction.

“Doing nothing” turned out not to be a viable option, Prissel said.

Planning for the original Glenhaven building started in 1957, and construction was completed in 1960.


The incentive money from the state was offered as a way to encourage new long term care facilities that provide more of a home like atmosphere for senior citizens rather than the “institutional” designs used in years past with long hallways and double occupancy rooms.

The rooms at Glenhaven Long Term Care and Rehabilitation are all private rooms.

Glenhaven Inc. was awarded a state incentive grant for the building project in 2010.

The state’s incentive program pays $10 per Medicaid bed per day.

Glenhaven also is receiving $15 to $20 per Medicaid bed per day for building reimbursement.

The Medicaid amount for the building will slowly diminish each year unless — or until — Glenhaven, Inc. does another building project.

“We received this in the old Glenhaven building but it was only about $5 per patient day,” DeWitt explained.

“Glenhaven was one of only about a dozen out of more than 400 applicants to receive this grant, which is no longer available. Also, not all entities that were awarded the grant took advantage of it to build. Glenhaven will also receive an extra $2 per patient day because the new building offers all private rooms,” DeWitt explained.

“We would not have been able to build a new facility without the incentive money,” he noted.


Glenhaven’s new facility was funded by $2.5 million in taxable bonds through AgStar Financial Services and $6.75 million as a direct loan from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development.

USDA Rural Development provides loans to help rural areas build new nursing homes or other projects that benefit small, rural communities, such as hospitals and dental clinics, town halls and courthouses, or public safety services, such as fire stations or police stations.

The interest rate for the Glenhaven project is 4.67 percent for the bonds obtained through AgStar Financial and 3.5 percent for the direct loan from the USDA for a combined blended interest rate of 3.82 percent.

Of the funds that were received, $187,571 was used to refinance existing debit.

The design and construction costs were $7.96 million. Asbestos abatement was $75,000, and construction monitoring was $18,000.

Furniture, fixtures and equipment amounted to $525,000.

Financing, legal and closing costs amounted to $149,056.

Accounting, market study and consulting costs were $57,287, and funded construction interest for the AgStar bonds was $515,750.

The architect for the Glenhaven project was Nelson Tremain Partnership Architecture and Design for Aging out of Minneapolis. The general contractor was Royal Construction out of Eau Claire.

Additional land

In 2011, the Glenhaven Board of Directors approved purchasing an additional 7.5 acres of land to provide more space for the new facility.

Two houses were located on the additional land. One house was moved, and one was torn down.

The house on the corner next to Glenhaven at 526 E. Oak Street was owned by Mac and Bernie Johnston (George M. and Bernadette nee Schug).

The Johnstons had at one time owned and operated the Downing Feed Mill.

The Glenhaven Board of Directors purchased the Johnston home in late 2009 after Mac Johnston had passed away.

“We worked with his son Pete and daughter-in-law Cindy Johnston. They have been one of our biggest benefactors,” DeWitt said.

The 7.5 acres were situated behind the Johnston home where much of the new Glenhaven stands today.

The Johnston home was moved in late April of 2013 to a temporary staging location across the street at Hinman Park.

The house “remained there until late summer when it was moved to its present location in the Town of Emerald. We sold the home to a couple of brothers who moved it across the street. They then sold it to another person who had it moved to Emerald. We rented out the Johnston home for a year or so,” DeWitt said.

The other house purchased by Glenhaven was located at 520 E. Oak Street.

The Glenhaven Board of Directors had planned to sell the house and have it moved or to use it as a rental, but inspectors discovered black mold in the basement, which made the house uninhabitable, unsellable and uninsurable, DeWitt said.

“Therefore, we had it razed,” he said.


Part of the Glenhaven construction project also required that a portion of Sixth Street be abandoned.

The Glenwood City Council in December of 2012 took the first step in the process by approving a resolution. The process included a public hearing on the matter several months later in February.

Following the public hearing in February of 2013, the Glenwood City Council approved vacating that portion of Sixth Street north of Oak Street.

At that same meeting in February of 2013, the Glenwood City Council approved a conditional use permit for Glenhaven. The approval was based upon a recommendation from the Glenwood City Plan Commission.

The Glenwood City Council also approved a site plan and a certified survey map (CSM) for Glenhaven based upon the recommendation of the plan commission.

Four wings

The new construction at the Glenhaven campus, Glenhaven Long Term Care and Rehabilitation, is a two-story facility with four wings that each make up their own neighborhood with rooms for up to 11 residents, complete with a sunroom and large windows to provide views of the ballpark, the hillside behind the building and the surrounding residential community.

In addition to the sunroom, each of the residential neighborhoods has a living room and a dining room.

In the neighborhoods, the dining room and living room areas form an “L” with the resident rooms.

All together, the new portion of Glenhaven is about 49,000 square feet.

The fire in January of 2014 destroyed two-thirds of the new addition. The single story portion burned to the ground, and the roof burned off the two-story section.

Capital campaign

Part of the funding for the facility includes a capital campaign with a goal of $700,000.

The United States Department of Agriculture, as a condition of the loan, requires communities to hold capital campaigns to put locally raised money toward the new facility.

The capital campaign committee co-chairs for the Glenhaven project include Tom and Nancy Stack, Dave and Joan Bartz, and Orv and Louise Jeske. Committee members are Carlton and Paula DeWitt, Amy Hellmann, Dr. Lisa Kaiser, John Logghe, John McCutchin, Lesley Nelson, Diane Olson, Larry Standaert and David Willink.

“The committee has done a fantastic job of working together,” said Joan Bartz at the open house at Glenhaven in April.

“We were tasked with coming up with $700,000 toward the project for some of the extras that were over and above. Thanks to two generous challenge donors and huge, huge community support, we have raised so far over $464,500 in less than six months,” Bartz said at the open house.

Since the time of the quote, additional donations have raised the total to $495,866.53.

The capital campaign committee is hoping to close out the capital campaign within two years of starting it in the fall of 2014, David Bartz said.

The fire was a problem for the project, and while the insurance covered most of the loss, the delay in construction has cost money as well, Bartz said.

“The more that people are getting in to see (the new Glenhaven), the more impressed they are,” he said.

Bartz said that while he would not describe the new facility “as grandiose,” it is “a solid new building in a beautiful location.”

Not many small towns are able to build a new nursing home to serve the residents in their area, he said.