Audience of 100 attends ceremony

By Sara Konrad Baranowski

In front of a backdrop of blue skies and yellow construction equipment, Grand JiVanté broke ground Wednesday on a $16 million development in Iowa Falls.

The Ackley-based non-profit announced the project last summer, saying it wanted to expand its services and offer a new kind of care for seniors.

On Wednesday, Grand JiVanté CEO Julie Hinders said the organization’s plans will align with evolving expectations. “They say senior services is going to change more in the next five years than it has in the last two or three decades, so things are changing rapidly in our arena,” Hinders told the 100 people in attendance.

“Years ago, nursing homes were built to mirror hospitals and they were designed to be institutions, not homes,” Hinders said. “So we’re going to work really hard to change the landscape of senior services and we’re going to bring a new model of care to the Iowa Falls area. The goal is to put the home back in nursing home.”

Hinders said the new development will include “cottages,” each of which will house 16 residents in a homelike atmosphere. The development, which will cover 23 acres along Riverside Drive, will also include apartments, single-family “villas” and memory care.

Grand JiVanté Board President Chris Timmons said she has followed the changing landscape of senior services and the organization’s plans are “right on.” “We are going to be a great place of the future,” Timmons said.

Wednesday’s event was the culmination of years of work, which began in 2011 as discussions with the Board of Directors. “We’ve all gathered and thrown out ideas and taken them back, and then thrown something else out and taken it back,” Timmons said. “And that’s how you come up with a vision and a dream and I’m really, really excited to be here today.”

Hinders thanked a long list of people and companies that have contributed to planning for the project. They included architects Bergland & Cram of Mason City; Cardinal Construction of Waterloo; LMV Engineering of Ames; and Bolton & Menk, Inc. engineers of Ames. She also thanked Martin Brothers Distributing of Cedar Falls, which she called “a big supporter.” Also receiving thanks were the City of Iowa Falls; Iowa Falls Area Development Corporation Director Cindy Litwiller; USDA; Northland Securities; American Trust; and Green Belt Bank & Trust.

Speaking briefly Wednesday, Litwiller said that when companies do their due diligence, they consider several locations.“We’re very thankful that they chose Iowa Falls, that they are doing the project here and we’re retaining it in Hardin County,” said Litwiller, who has been working with Grand JiVanté for about 16 months. “We appreciate your confidence in Iowa Falls.”

The Iowa Falls development has been met with opposition from a group of citizens that opposes the organization’s plans to move its skilled nursing license from the Ackley facility to the new Iowa Falls development. The citizen group has retained an attorney, and most recently its representatives spoke against the project at a May 18 Iowa Falls City Council meeting. None of the members of that group appeared to be present Wednesday.

Timmons said her preparation for Wednesday’s celebration led to her brainstorming words that begin with C and are representative of Grand JiVanté’s services.

“There’s a merging of quality, kind care; an array of unlimited life choices; and a sense of community,” Timmons said. “I want to pledge to you, on behalf of the Board, on behalf of the staff, that our commitment for the future is to maintain all of those big Cs, and the final one is commitment.”

Grand JiVanté Marketing and Sales Director Doug Miller said construction could begin at any time now, and that the schedule is“up to Cardinal Construction.” He told those in attendance to plan for a similar gathering in 2016.“I want to invite you back next year about this time for a ribbon- cutting,” he said. “It’ll be very exciting.”

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