By Sara Konrad Baranowski  on May 9, 2016

Scenic Living Communities is preparing to embark on a project that its leaders say will position it for growth and will help it meet the needs of current and future residents.

In meetings with residents, their families and employees this week, Scenic Living Communities (SLC) announced that it will be adding on to Scenic Manor, its skilled nursing facility, and renovating portions of the building.  SLC Executive Director Lora Juhl said Scenic Manor will get new rooms, but the number of beds it is licensed by the state to have will not change.

“We are licensed for 82 beds, and we will stay at 82,” she said.  “The intention is to convert semi-private rooms to private rooms.”

Juhl said that right now, Scenic Manor – which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year – has about 71 residents.  But it’s turning one or two people away every week because it doesn’t have any more private rooms available.

“In the 1970’s when this was built, it was acceptable to do semi-private rooms and multiple people to a restroom, but over time that’s changed,” she said.  “We got to the point where we really can’t change any more and still be where we need to be, to be successful.”

Currently, the facility has 28 private rooms and 24 semi-private rooms.  Through the renovations and addition, the facility will gain 14 new private rooms.

A new wing will be built onto the south side of the facility into the courtyard.  Juhl said Scenic Manor will both add private rooms and convert some of its current semi-private rooms to private rooms.

In addition to building a new wing, there are other renovations planned.  Juhl said one of the facility’s dinging rooms will be “opened up.”  A wall between the hallway and the dining room will be removed, and service in that dining room will be shifted to create a more open floor plan that will accommodate an additional 10 to 15 people.

With the project, Juhl said, they also intend to upgrade utility intakes.

Other, small additions are planned on the north and west sides of the building by less than 15 feet each.  Those additions and the renovations will add a conference room (the facility does not currently have a conference room for staff meetings or family consultations).  The additions will also provide separate spaces for the Human Resources and Business offices, which currently share a room.  A new, large employee break area will provide more space for the 50 to 75 people who may be working in the building at one time, and the laundry area will be upgraded.  The Activities Office will also be moved.

One of the facility’s resident lounges will be expanded, and a new one will be added.  Juhl said they also intend to upgrade utility intakes, and the facility will gain about 24 parking spaces, which will provide more room for employees’ and vistors’ vehicles.

Juhl said the design for this renovation originated with plans that were drafted in 2008.  Last September, the organization began working in earnest with AHTS Architects of Waterloo to revise and finalize plans.  HDC Development Companies of St. Cloud, Minnesota, will perform the work.  Construction could begin this summer, and Juhl said work is expected to last about six months.

Juhl said that project, whose cost is not being made public at this time,will be paid for by the privately-held company.

“Anything you do should be important and sustainable, and moving into the future this is very sustainable,” she said.  :When you start turning residents away because we don’t have the right accommodations for them, it makes sense to do this.”