By RENEE WEBB
FORT DODGE – After three years of remodeling and expansion at the Marian Home, a ribbon-cutting ceremony and blessing by Bishop R. Walker Nickless at noon on Sept. 27 will mark the culmination of the extensive renovation project.
Eric Halverson, executive director of the licensed intermediate care and skilled nursing facility, said the upcoming celebration marks the conclusion of all four phases of the renovation.
“We repurposed the facility to meet today’s and tomorrow’s needs,” he said. “We took the entire facility down to the studs and rebuilt it back up with new electrical, new HVAC and new plumbing throughout the entire facility. There wasn’t one inch of the facility that wasn’t touched with some form of update.”
The Marian Home took on the $13 million renovation for several reasons. The facility wanted to remain competitive in the market and provide a new style of living for residents that offered greater independence. For instance, the executive director said a shower was added to the bathrooms of every sleeping room in the facility and they have gone from 17 single rooms to 49.
“The quality of the work that was done was superior,” noted Halverson, who mentioned they coupled functional furniture with aesthetically-pleasing color schemes and design to make for a warm and inviting environment. “Overall, we now have a facility that should last us for a very long time with minimal upgrades and upkeep that our residents, future residents and their families can be proud of.”
Halverson outlined the main components of the four phases:
Phase I – This phase added a new 19-bed resident wing with dining room, laundry facility, business offices, chapel and nurses’ stations in strategic locations.
Phase II – Two additional dining rooms were added along with a complete remodel of an existing resident wing.
Phase III – The front lobby was remodeled featuring a 12-foot ceiling, another resident wing was closed to undergo a full remodel, a town hall celebration center was created along with a 3,000-square-foot inpatient/outpatient therapy center.
Phase IV – A fourth dining room was added, and two more wings were closed (one at a time) for a complete renovation, remodel of the whirlpool rooms, add a new beauty shop and employee breakroom.
“This allows us to have residents in smaller groups, which enables us to deliver better care with efficiency and time savings from staff not having to take residents to a central dining room,” said Halverson.
While the facility currently only offered inpatient therapy, the executive director said the new therapy center will eventually offer outpatient therapy to others in the community later this year or in early 2019.
“With the landscape of how care is to be delivered to seniors and future seniors, along with other competitors making upgrades, it is very important to modernize our facilities for the next 40 years,” Halverson said.
Some additions such as the new beauty shop and large activities room, he noted, enhance the quality of life at the home.
Along with upgrades that help with the day-to-day care of residents, Halverson said one of the most impressive features of the renovated facility is the new chapel.
The chapel, which was blessed and dedicated in 2016, can seat more than 100 people compared with about 50 in the former chapel.
“We’ve more than doubled our capacity. It’s large, spacious and truly looks like a chapel,” Halverson said.
At that time, Msgr. Kevin McCoy said they had identified a need for a new chapel through an evaluation of the quality of life issues for Marian Home residents and their families.
“The old chapel was very cramped with a low ceiling, and quite simply, it did not provide adequate space for the liturgical celebrations in a way that the new chapel does,” said Msgr. McCoy at the time of the chapel blessing. “The new chapel is bright and airy and will better accommodate our residents and their families.”
Halverson said he is excited to have the grand opening and blessing later this month. The gathering will feature several speakers. The public is invited to attend.