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Centre Crest to Build New, $39 Million Nursing Facility in College Township

by on July 18, 2017 3:34 PM

Centre Crest Nursing Home will move from its longtime location in Bellefonte to a new, $39 million skilled-nursing facility to be constructed in College Township, the nonprofit's board of directors announced on Tuesday afternoon.

The 135,645 square-foot building will be constructed on a 30-acre site behind the former Starlite drive-in between Benner Pike and East College Avenue. Centre Crest expects the new facility to be open in 2020.

“Centre Crest was always known as the ‘county home’ and today, our plans show we’re transforming it into a ‘home for the county,’” Betsy Boyer, Centre Crest board president, said. “Today, residents want more from their nursing homes and we’re excited to begin building a facility for the future.”

After 20 months of strategic planning, there were a number of reasons Centre Crest decided to move forward with the plan to build and move to a new home, mostly related to the size and age of the current building on East Howard Street.

The original Centre Crest building was constructed in 1938 with additions in the 1970s and 1990s. That means that by the time the new location opens, parts of the old one will be more than 80 years old.

"It's getting difficult to maintain and upkeep," Boyer said.

She noted that in 2022, Centre Crest will no longer be exempt from some of the regulations of the state's code for health care and nursing home facilities. The prospect of getting the old building to meet those codes was overwhelming and the costs would be exorbitant.

Centre County owns the building and operated the nursing home until 2013 when it transitioned to a nonprofit board. Centre Crest leases the building for $1 a year and the county will maintain ownership once the nursing home moves to the new site. It is not yet known what the county will do with the building beyond that.

The current building is usually at maximum residential capacity and has a waiting list, and its configuration restricts Centre Crest's ability to expand and offer different services that are in demand.

The new building will be situated on the southeast portion of the site and will be accessed from East College Avenue/Route 26. Board member Carl Raup said the site is already zoned R-3 by College Township and a nursing home is a permitted use.

It will have 240 beds and the number of private rooms will increase from four to 66. Bedroom sizes will increase by about 100 square feet.

The facility will include a dedicated 30-bed short term rehabilitation unit with all private rooms and a separate outdoor courtyard; a 31-bed secured memory care unit with private outdoor courtyard; a 29-bed high acuity unit and 120 beds for long-term care residents; and a 30-bed private room unit.

A central building will be flanked by two wings. The site leaves room to expand. in the future, Boyer said, Centre Crest could possibly add an assisted-living facility as well as low-income housing that would be designated for spouses of Centre Crest residents who do not yet need nursing home care, but could then transition through to assisted living and then the main facility.

Work on final plans for the new building will begin in August and the final design will take about eight months. That will be followed by permit and land development approvals and awarding of bids. Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2018 and will take about 16 months to complete.

Residents will be moved in phases once the new building comes on line. Board members said the new location, with more attractions closer to the site, provides more accessibility for family and friends who visit residents to take them out and do things. They also hope it will be the start of developing the area north of the Nittany Mall up to the new nursing home's land.

Centre Crest has worked with multiple consultants on site selection, design and financing. Miles Kingston of Lancaster Pollard, a financing firm that specializes in health care and senior living facilities, said they are looking at various options for the project that could include both private financing and government agencies that fund nonprofits. The Centre Crest board has also committed a significant equity contribution to the project, Kingston said.

Boyer said that the facility is likely to add staff at the new location.

Plans for the move were discussed with staff, residents and families on Monday.

"It was a resounding 'Yes, let's go,'" she said.

 

An artist's rendering of the front exterior elevation for Centre Crest's new nursing facility planned for College Township. Image provided.



Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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