A new $9.5 million facility will expand the residential nursing capacity of Iola Living Assistance, Inc.
According to CEO Greg Loeser, ILA proposes to build a new 50-bed nursing facility to replace the current Iola Living Assistance building.
“This has been in the planning process for well over a year,” Loeser said.
He noted the facility could be ready in about two years.
A market study in 2013 indicated “a need in the future for 50 skilled nursing beds in the area we serve,” Loeser said.
This area includes Iola, Scandinavia, Rosholt, Amherst, Big Falls and Nelsonville.
The market study also indicated a need for memory care for about 15 to 25 residents in a community based residential facility (CBRF).
“CBRF is really the missing piece in our continuum of care,” Loeser said. “If we build a new nursing facility, we would convert the current facility to CBRF with all private rooms.”
The new facility will be located just to the west of Living Oaks on the west side of the village of Iola. The two buildings will be connected with an enclosed walkway.
According to Loeser, the overall plan is for two phases.
The first phase is to build the new Iola Living Assistance skilled nursing facility.
The second phase involves converting the existing ILA building to CBRF room-by-room as each wing is filled.
According to Loeser, most of the work will be cosmetic and does not include an extensive remodeling. He estimates there will be 13 rooms in the south wing and 18 rooms in the north wing.
“There’s no debt on the existing building, so the work is affordable,” he said.
Iola Living Assistance, Inc. applied for a Community Facility Loan to cover the cost for building a new facility. The pending loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture locks in a fixed interest rate for 40 years.
The goal is to provide all private rooms with private bathrooms.
“The market has changed,” Loeser said. “Residents want private rooms; they don’t want to share a room.”
“We lose admissions because we don’t have enough private rooms in the current facility,” he said.
ILA currently employs about 100, including 67 full-time staff. With the second phase, there is the potential for about 22 new positions.
The north wing of the original Iola Nursing Home was built in 1965.
Butternut Ridge apartments were added in 1994.
The corporation’s name was changed to Iola Living Assistance in 2005, when construction began on Living Oaks.
Currently, about 86 residents live in the three facilities, which include ILA skilled nursing, Living Oaks assisted living and Butternut Ridge.
With the proposed project, the residency could increase to 116.
“The construction of a new skilled nursing facility and the conversion of the existing building to CBRF will complete the continuum of senior care in the Iola community,” Loeser said.