Broken Bow Moves Ahead on $8M Aging Facility

Hub Regional

By ELLEN MORTENSEN / Hub Regional Correspondent | Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2015 11:42 am

Mitch Elliott of Vetter Senior Living presents plans for a new nursing home to be built in Broken Bow to the Broken Bow City Council. The council approved the $8 million facility.

BROKEN BOW — Broken Bow took a final step toward addressing housing needs for aging adults when the City Council approved a permit for constructing a new facility in the community last week.

On July 14, Vetter Senior Living received approval for a conditional-use permit from the council, and construction on a new 42,000-square-foot facility is expected to begin this fall. Mitch Elliott, who oversees development and design for Vetter, presented the company’s plan for the licensed skilled facility to the council and the public. The plan calls for a 60-resident facility with the option of increasing the occupancy by up to 10 percent in two years.

The total cost of the project is anticipated to be about $8 million.

There are 30 Vetter health-care facilities in the Midwest, and 22 of those are located in Nebraska. Elliott said that is because the founder of the company, Jack Vetter, is a native of Bassett and has maintained strong ties to the state.

Elliott said Vetter has been in talks about the project with Jennie M. Melham Memorial Medical Center for about two years. The facility will replace the hospital’s Heritage Hall nursing home. Vetter has purchased just more than four acres north of the hospital. The land is on the east side of the Laural Parkway Drive, which runs past the Aquatic Center and the hospital.

Elliott said the facility will be split into three separate wings, which he called households. Each household will be predominantly private rooms, some side-by-side rooms will be available, and will also feature a living area for socializing and its own clinical hub.

The facility will include a short-term rehabilitation therapy gym, a chapel and a community room that can be used by residents, staff and community members. The center court will include dining and an ice cream parlor. There will be an outdoor courtyard.

Elliott said the facility will have two entrances. The main entrance will be at the south end of the property.

The location of the nursing home is a big plus for the residents.

“All of the resident rooms will have a window, and all will have a nice view,” Elliott said. “With so much greenscape and the rolling hills around the building, it will be a really nice setting for our residents.”

Grading and building on the property will be done to accommodate expansion. He explained that once the facility achieves 90 percent to 95 percent capacity, officials will look at expanding by the 10 percent.

Along with the aesthetic appeal of the new home, Elliott said it will feature the most-updated electronic medical records and charting system available. Providing the most effective and efficient service to the residents is always the top priority, he said.

Steve Hanson, construction manager for the project, plans to be in touch soon with local contractors. Vetter plans to break ground in late August or early September, and construction is expected to take about 13-15 months to complete.

Elliott said that when fully staffed, Vetter will employ 80-90 people. There are currently about 50 employees at Heritage Hall, and all employees who wish to remain will automatically be hired by Vetter. Once the new facility is operational, Elliott said, residents and staff will just be transferred from Heritage Hall to Vetter. The new facility will have no affiliation with Melham Medical Center.