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Assisted living center project moves forward

by Eric Mullens
WALSENBURG— Architect Don Spencer provided the Huerfano County Hospital District Board of Directors an update on the assisted living center project during the board’s regular July meeting last week.
Spencer has donated his time and talent to executing drawings and design for the project which is strongly backed by the Spanish Peaks Community Foundation.
The presentation July 25, showed how the facility could look with a two-home design that could accommodate up to 30 residents. The preliminary plans are being completed to present to the USDA in a loan application. While saying, “this is by no means the final plan,” Spencer presented detailed information that covers the proposal from roof design, to landscaping to cost estimates for interior furnishings.
Prior to the presentation to the county hospital board, the Spanish Peaks Community Foundation also heard an update on the project from Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center President/CEO Todd Oberheu. Oberheu is also a director in the foundation.
The foundation’s minutes indicated Oberheu had received drawings of the building plans.
Floor plans include open porches with scenic views of the Spanish Peaks and Cucharas River. A Proforma is being prepared with an estimated completion date set for the end of August to be presented to USDA-Rural Development.
The foundation, according to information presented at the hospital board meeting, would seek a 40 year loan from the USDA at 3½ percent interest to fund initial construction.
During his presentation to the hospital board, Spencer said it is believed the note payments could be made with 75 percent occupancy of the facility.
Foundation board director John Galusha (Huerfano County Administrator), said during the foundation’s board meeting, an offer to Faris Land for 10-20 acres of additional land had been made. He noted, Chaé Organics is interested in purchasing 10 acres for future expansion.
The assisted living center would be located in the area between the family clinic and Chaé Organics, with unobstructed views of the Spanish Peaks.
Currently the foundation owns five acres of land adjacent to SPRHC where the Spanish Peaks Residences would be built. Foundation discussions continued on marketing the assisted living center to obtain community support via small donations.
During the hospital board meeting it was made clear an assisted living center would not be a part of SPRHC.
Assisted living centers are not medical facilities and residents would be those who require some help with situations such as bathing, cooking and housekeeping. Those tasks would be performed by two CNA (certified nursing assistants) on duty in each building from 7 am until 7 pm and one on duty in each building from 7 pm until 7 am. There would also be an administrator on duty during normal business hours, as well as a person qualified and certified to handle and administer medication for residents.
The proposal calls for two identical buildings; the West Peak Residence and the East Peak Residence, that could house seven to eight individuals per side in rooms of approximately 375 square feet. Accommodations for couples moving into the facility have been built into the plan. Each building would have a commons area, like a large living room, a dining area and administration office. The facility would also have landscaped areas, a separate driveway and parking areas, as many of the potential residents are anticipated to own their own vehicles.
While discussions have estimated the full cost of the project in the $8 million range, the plans presented by Spencer late last month indicated the facility could be brought into existence in for about $6.5 million.