By RENEE WEBB
FORT DODGE – After three years of renovation and expansion, the Marian Home held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Sept. 27 to celebrate the completion of the $13 million project.
“The Marian Home has a long history of serving the Fort Dodge area community,” said Eric Halverson, executive director. “It is a great honor to continue to meet the needs of those we currently serve and completing a project that will benefit generations to come.”
Some of the major aspects of the project included increasing the number of private rooms from 17 to 49, adding new dining rooms, building a new chapel, creating a new inpatient/outpatient therapy center and large activities room.
Bishop Walker Nickless of the Diocese of Sioux City was on hand for the celebration to lead prayer and offer a few words.
“Let us ask God’s blessings on all those who are patients here and on those who devote themselves to caring for the sick and elderly,” the bishop prayed. “Let us ask that he finds blessings on this building, remodeled and erected for the care of the sick and elderly.”
Bishop Nickless asked God to lift the hearts of all the afflicted who live and will live at the Marian Home, the workers and all those who visit. By God’s grace, the bishop asked that the Marian Home be a house of blessings and a center of love.
Following the prayer, the bishop said he had toured the facility and found it to be “gorgeous.”
“I already told one of the residents, ‘Can I stay here in a couple of years when I retire? Do you have a room for me? Because this is a beautiful, beautiful place.’ I want to thank Eric and everyone who made it possible,” said Bishop Nickless, who added the Diocese of Sioux City is committed to the caring of the elderly and the sick. “This facility shows that in a beautiful way. Our mission is to care for the least among us.”
The gathering was attended by various local dignitaries, community members and those affiliated with the facility.
Fort Dodge Mayor Matt Bemrich said anytime they see progress in the city, it creates a sense of vibrancy for the entire community.
“Fort Dodge is a community full of great people who come together to achieve common goals,” he said. “This project demonstrates what happens when many work together in collaboration to build something which serves others. It also provides a great indicator of economic development which is taking place in our city, county and the great state of Iowa.”
The mayor said they are proud to have the Marian Home in the city and they appreciate the great work it has done. He offered special thanks to the Fort Dodge Catholic community, “Without you, things like this do not happen. You are a shining example of what good faith-based communities can do.”
Brent Willet, chief executive officer of the Iowa Health Care Association, said of the 850 long term care, supports and services agencies that belong to the association, the Marian Home is a shining example of a member that not only invests in its clients, staff and leadership but also is physically investing in the future.
“It is difficult to pull a project like this off in any sector in Iowa. It is extraordinarily difficult to pull a project like this off in long-term care in the environment this sector is facing and has been facing for a number of years,” he noted. “It is a very difficult sector to operate well in.”
Given the Iowa Health Care Association represents 9 out of 10 of all long-term health care facilities in the state, Willet is familiar with facilities in the state. He described the Marian Home as one of the finest in the state and called the project “notable anywhere in the state.”
While the project was three years of construction, Halverson said it was another three years of planning.
“I want to thank our board, our staff and volunteers for the countless hours to provide a place that feels more like home for our current and future residents,” the executive director said.