A sign at the entrance to the old Crawford County Memorial Hospital medical clinic shows that a $3 million goal has been achieved. Photo by Gordon Wolf

Since last spring, Eventide officials have been keeping their eyes on the rising amount of cash and pledges for the “Grow Bold With Us” capital campaign, an initiative to construct a new 66,905 square-foot skilled nursing facility.

With the January 7 announcement that the minimum $3 million goal for the campaign had been reached, Eventide officials, as well as the entire community, can turn their vision to the location for the facility - the former site of Crawford County Memorial Hospital along South 20th Street, just north of the existing Eventide campus.

Based on a smooth flow for the project timeline, anticipations are for a groundbreaking this spring and having the building ready for residents in the summer of 2021.

“We want to thank those who have supported us through financial donations and by sharing the story of the project,” said Mindi Baker, Eventide Campus CEO. “It’s just very heartwarming to see the community behind a bold move like this.”

Christine Kragel, Eventide’s community relations director, added, “This is a huge accomplishment for our community, something they should be proud of.”

The next steps for Eventide are to conduct interviews for and select a general contractor this month, and then to let the project for bids.

Community Living Solutions, of Des Moines, the architect for the project, will be involved in the selection of the general contractor.

Community support was the reason Eventide was able to reach its minimum goal in sight of the December 31, 2019, deadline that Eventide officials had set for themselves.

The four local banks - Crawford County Bank, Bank Iowa, United Bank of Iowa and Wells Fargo Bank - were among the kick-off donors for the capital campaign, which was launched in April last year.

Providing a firm platform for the campaign are two $1 million Legacy level gifts – one from Nix Lauridsen in honor of his parents, Frances and Wally Lauridsen; and the other from the Eventide Foundation.

The Lauridsen family formerly lived in Denison and is the owner of APC and Boyer Valley, located adjacent to each other southwest of Denison along Highway 30. The businesses are part of The Lauridsen Group, Inc., based out of Ankeny.

The new skilled nursing facility will be named in memory of Frances and Wally Lauridsen.

The largest single fundraising event was the Believe Gala, which took place on December 15 at the Stables at Copper Ridge. About $90,000 was raised.

“The donors were very generous,” said Baker.

Two golf tournaments boosted the project toward the $3 million goal, as did a number of other fundraising activities, such as bake sales and garage sales.

Eventide staff hosted a number of the fundraisers.

“The staff alone raised over $30,000,” said Kragel.

That amount keeps rising with more pledges coming in.

Kragel said that fundraising efforts will continue but will be a little different in 2020. She explained Eventide will place an increased focus on obtaining public and private grants and donations.

Baker said that because the $3 million minimum goal includes amounts pledged, the possibility always exists that Eventide may not receive some of those pledges, and she added that the actual cost of the new facility won’t be known until the bids are received.

“We’re trying to keep ourselves covered,” she said.

The estimated cost of the new skilled nursing facility is $15.5 million.

Eventide is working with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development to fund the majority of the project and also with the local financing institutions on financing the remainder of the project, including the construction loan.

The USDA loan rate has been locked in at three percent.

A number of steps are involved with a USDA loan, including USDA approval of the general contractor, Baker added.

The new skilled nursing facility is designed according to a community-living model of skilled nursing care and represents Phase I of a long-term goal for Eventide.

Phase II will add to the continuum of care by building a $3 million memory support assisted living facility.

When the timing is appropriate for Phase II, that facility will be constructed to adjoin Silveridge Assisted Living and will serve an additional 16 tenants.

Phase II is included with the official notice of award by USDA as well as refinancing the existing debt on the Silveridge facility.

Eventide’s existing skilled nursing facility is 56 years old and represents the institutional model of care. It will be demolished. Part of that area will be transformed into parking and green space.

Baker and Kragel said reaching the $3 million goal is another example of progress and moving forward in the community.

“The new facility is much needed for our community,” said Kragel. “There’s no doubt about that. It will touch a lot of lives, whether those are the lives of residents or families, children or spouses. We look forward to continuing to do that.”

About the new nursing facility

The new skilled nursing facility will be composed of four households. Each household will be similar to a residential home with bedrooms (with private bathrooms) that open out to a household kitchen, living room and dining room. Each household will have a laundry room and a private courtyard.

The households will create a much more residential feel, leaving the institutional feel a thing of the past.

The model of living space means shorter distances to walk in the household and greater resident dignity and privacy.

The majority of the bedrooms will be private.

Companion rooms will have a different floor plan and be much larger than the double rooms that are in the existing Eventide skilled nursing building.

The households will connect to “Main Street,” an area that will offer services similar to those that can be found in any downtown. Services along “Main Street” will include a therapy gym, beauty salon, library, lounge areas and a snack bar.

The activity center along “Main Street,” will be where residents can attend church, watch a movie and see live entertainment.

The design of the facility will also enhance visitor interaction with residents.

The residential style will allow Eventide to launch a new resident-directed staffing model. Residents, families and Eventide staff will be able to make decisions at the level closest to the issues.

In addition, staff will be cross-trained to provide for many of the residents’ needs, and will, in effect, serve as “hosts.”

The new facility will be licensed for 84 residents.

Eventide is the only local, non-profit continuum of care community and has been serving the area for over 56 years.

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