Medical care facility planning $11.7 million expansion

October 3, 2014
Oceana County Medical Care Facility Administrator Greg Wilson, left, and Hart Mayor Harold Schaner look over architect drawings during a public hearing in the Hart City Hall Community Center Thursday that focused on the facility's proposed $11.7 million expansion.

Oceana County Medical Care Facility Administrator Greg Wilson, left, and Hart Mayor Harold Schaner look over architect drawings during a public hearing in the Hart City Hall Community Center Thursday that focused on the facility’s proposed $11.7 million expansion.

By Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

HART — A growing elderly population and an aging facility have sparked the need for an $11.7 million expansion and renovation project at the Oceana County Medical Care Facility.

A public hearing hosted by Alliance for Health in the Hart City Hall Community

The Oceana County Medical Care Facility in Hart was originally built 50 years ago.

The Oceana County Medical Care Facility in Hart was originally built 50 years ago.

Center Thursday afternoon laid out the plans for the ambitious project. The agency’s evaluation board will use input from Thursday’s meeting for the facility’s Certificate of Need application. If the project is approved by the state, construction could begin as early as this winter.

The project will require no tax increase for citizens, said OCMCF Facility Administrator Greg Wilson. Capital funds totalling $7.7 million will finance the bulk of the project, Wilson said, and the remaining funds will come from a

An architect's drawing of the  expansion plan.

An architect’s drawing of the expansion plan.

matching grant. The facility is applying for a $2 million matching grant from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. Matching funds will be acquired through a fundraising campaign, Wilson said, and $10,000 has already been acquired.

If the building project gets the final nod from the state, construction would begin in early 2015 and continue for 20 months.

Tower Pinkster of Grand Rapids is the lead architectural agency for the project, and Christman Co. of Lansing is the construction management firm.

Architect's drawing of the  expansion plan.

An architect’s drawing of the expansion plan.

Construction will take place in four phases, said Regional Architect Kendra Thompson of Manistee at Thursday’s meeting.

– Phase I: Construction of a 32-bed east wing, $3 million.

– Phase II: Renovation of the existing C-wing, $500,000.

– Phase III: Demolition of wings A and B that were built in 1965 and expansion of the dining room, $4-5 million.

– Phase IV: Modernization of the existing D-wing and expansion of the Alzheimer’s Unit, increasing beds from 17 to 35, $1 million.

ocmcf 1The facility, which has seen improvements as recently as 2005, was originally built 50 years ago. “It was built in the 1960s, and it is beginning to fail,” said Wilson. “We have small rooms that four people are sharing. It’s not safe for residents or employees.”

The Alzheimer’s Unit is full to capacity, and there is a waiting list for patients to get in, he said.

Now is the time to expand the facility, he said, in preparation for the aging Baby Boomers.

The new dining room will be a major improvement, Wilson said. The current dining room is open only certain hours for meal times. The new dining area will offer a “bistro” atmosphere, and residents and their guests will have access to it all day long from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., he said.

Thompson described the design as a “model for the future.” The facility have a ocmcf 3new entrance, improved air circulation and both private and semi-private suites.

The project will yield 31,000 square feet of new space, the architect said, and 17,000 square feet will be demolished for a net gain of 14,000 square feet. A total of 19,000 square feet will be renovated.

Mark Ferris of Grant Township, the only community member in attendance Thursday, said he would like to see the funds aimed more at home care rather than institutional care.

The expansion will increase the facility’s 220-member staff by one additional housekeeping employee, Wilson said. Food costs at the facility should decrease with the expansion, he said, because there will be less food waste.

“It will have a much more homey feeling and not so institutional,” Thompson said. “Overall, visitor and resident comfort is the focus of this project. This will take Oceana County and its residents into the future for years to come. It will serve as a flagship to other communities.”

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