In a ceremonial tree cutting, Centre Care celebrated five years as a nonprofit and looked ahead to its new skilled nursing facility, which is set to open in November 2020.
“When the county transferred ownership to Centre Care, our hope was to have a stable business and a solid plan for the future,” said Betsy Boyer, Centre Care’s board president. “In those five years, we’ve done that and so much more. We’re so proud of how far we’ve come in serving our residents and Centre County.”
In March, College Township approved the plans for the new facility, which boasts 135,000 square feet and 240 beds. The 30-acre plot of land off Benner Pike where the facility is planned is filled with trees and cornstalks and looks out onto the mountains. Boyer said Centre Care hopes to break ground in March 2019.
Friday’s ceremony set the tone for the nonprofit’s upcoming capital campaign in November, which aims to raise $8 million in equity to support a $34 million U.S. Department of Agriculture construction loan Centre Care received in August.
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Andrew Naugle, Centre Care administrator, said the $8 million will be used for initial engineering and design and construction costs. Reese Engineering, an architectural engineering firm in State College that specializes in senior living facilities, civil engineer John Sepp from PennTerra Engineering, Inc. in State College and the Chambersburg architectural firm Noelker and Hull Associates, Inc. will all assist in the design and engineering of the new facility.
The capital campaign will also hold opportunities for donors to name or dedicate rooms and buildings, said Naugle.
Right now, Naugle said, there are 226 residents at Centre Care’s building in Bellefonte, with room for 240. The new facility will be able to hold the same amount of residents. One big shift, he said, is the change from having only four private rooms to 67.
In the new building, residents will have the option for traditional long-term care and three specialty “neighborhoods” or units — high acuity, memory care and short-term rehabilitation. Naugle said calling the places where residents will live “neighborhoods” is part of a more holistic approach to care.
“We want it to be a home atmosphere,” he said.
The parking situation will also improve, he said, because the new facility will have two parking lots — one for staff with 180 spots and one for residents and their families with 80-100 spots.