CentraCare-Sauk Centre Care Center addition almost finished

CentraCare-Sauk Centre continues to grow as its Care Center addition nears completion. While its initially planned fall 2022 opening has been pushed back due to shipping delays and other logistical issues, it should not be long before the first residents can move in so the existing Care Center can be renovated.

“We’re waiting on a transfer switch for our generator,” said Melissa Andres, project manager. “We need the backup generator in order to move the residents into the Care Center because we can’t move them in without emergency power. We’re hopeful to have it shipped this month and potentially move the residents in the near future.”

Looking at the plans and timelines, CentraCare determined they were going to decrease their resident capacity in 2022 by decreasing their census as residents discharge, capping their census at 33 residents; that way, when the addition is ready, they will be able to move everybody over so the construction team can have access to the entire existing building. This change will allow the Care Center to complete their expansion and remodeling project in two stages instead of three.

“We’re being careful with how many we admit to make sure we have the right number of people when we move,” said Anne Major, Care Center administrator. “We’re not going to be displacing any residents.”

While an official date has not been set, Major and Andres believe the Care Center expansion could be taking in residents during or before April this year.

“It’s hard for us to put a date on it because our ship date for the transfer switch has been delayed so many times,” Andres said.

In the meantime, the new wing has completed its department of health inspection; their state fire inspection was Jan. 10, and as of writing, the results have not yet been received. Through contact with the state for the inspections, CentraCare has heard they are not alone in terms of project delays due to shipping and materials issues.

Aside from the schedule, not much about the addition has changed from the original plan and layout. When finished, the extension will have 33 new resident spaces – two double rooms, each with a shared bathroom, and 29 single-resident rooms. Major expects the double rooms to be a good option for residents with family members or close friends who would like to stay near each other. Each room in the addition also has a shower, an element the Care Center has not previously incorporated.

Other new features of the addition include the large, multipurpose chapel space and smaller meditation room, both of which are next to the Care Center’s main entrance and are therefore also accessible to the hospital side. The chapel’s altar has a closet where it can be stored for different events.

Unlike the existing Care Center space, the resident rooms’ doors are set back from the main hall, decreasing clutter and making the hall easier to navigate. The bathroom closets connect to nurse-server cabinets in the hall, which allow nurse-servers to stock them with needed toiletries without having to enter the room.

At the east end of the hall is the library, its corner windows looking out at the CentraCare-Sauk Centre sign on the side of the building. Midway down the hall is a large kitchen and sitting area with a fireplace, serving as another of the wing’s several gathering areas.

“There are so many more places for residents to go with their family members, small groups or large groups than we had in our old facilities,” Major said.

Every resident room will also have a TV as standard, and they will all be connected through Care TV; the program allows livestreaming from the chapel, and a movie can also be played on a channel for a shared viewing experience. Another channel will be dedicated to relaxation and meditation.

The current Care Center space had a salon, but a new, larger salon has been added to a renovated space connected to the expansion. A spa room is also included in the addition.

From what Major and Andres have seen, Care Center staff and residents are eager to begin using the new addition. Staff have had the chance to look through the space and give feedback; residents have not been able to go in for safety reasons, but after the fire inspection, they can schedule a tour with family members if desired. Beyond that, the Care Center plans to hold an open house for the community.

“On this campus specifically, we definitely needed the additional square footage for our residents as well as our staff,” Major said. “There’s just not enough office space on campus as it is.”