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Old Lakeland School to become assisted living, educational facility

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Ted Sullivan
August 16, 2008
— The old Lakeland School of Walworth County will be turned into a 50-room assisted living facility with a spa, pool, theater and gym when it opens in about a year.

The facility will offer art, cooking and tai chi classes to residents of the home and other seniors who want to enroll, said Sal Dimiceli Sr., a Lake Geneva real estate broker.


“It will fill a need in the county but it also will lead by example by giving life to seniors,” he said. “What this is going to be doing is promoting life.”


Ming L. Wang and Zoe Ma, both Chicago residents, bought the old school from the county for $400,000 and plan to renovate the 60,000-square-foot building on 8 acres at 504 W. Court St. in Elkhorn.


The sale became final Thursday.


The assisted living facility will be named the Lakeland Senior Wellness Center.


Wang, a University of Chicago professor, and Ma, an investor, visit Walworth County regularly.


They believe it’s a shame that society allows seniors to slow down or become lonely, Dimiceli said, and they want to buck that trend.


“There are very many intelligent seniors out there that are saying, ‘We want more,’” he said.


Ma, who was not available for comment, said in a written statement that the home’s goal will be to promote active lifestyles for seniors.


“Why not promote mental and physical education at all ages to keep mental and physical capabilities growing,” she said. “Every senior deserves this love and continued restoration of life.”


David Thompson, Walworth County Health and Human Services deputy director, said the area has plenty of senior housing.


But the need will grow, he said.


“Many baby boomers are retiring and are going to be seeking additional options,” Thompson said. “The demand will be much higher than the current supply.”


The buyers of the old school are applying for a permit from the city of Elkhorn to use the building for senior housing.


It’s ironic that the building was used to educate children in its early years, Dimiceli said, and it will be used to educate seniors in its older years.


“This building deserves to be brought back,” he said.


The Walworth County Board voted unanimously to approve the sale of the old school, rather than spend money to demolish and remove it.


Lakeland School’s new $18 million building, located at 3905 County NN, Elkhorn, opened in July for summer school. The 109,900-square-foot building is on 15 acres.



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