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GINA R. HEINE
May 6, 2008
— As baby boomers age, the need for senior living will expand, and St. Elizabeth Nursing Home wants to be ready.

“The face of long-term health care is changing, and we want to be proactive rather than reactive to the changes,” said Mother Marie Julie Saegaert, administrator of the Janesville nursing home.


Saegaert and developers will break ground this month on a $4.5 million, 70-unit assisted living facility called St. Elizabeth Manor on Highway 11 in Footville. The facility, which will have four different themed wings, will house up to 82 residents and is scheduled to open in November.


Future development plans include a neighboring retirement care apartment complex, a commercial strip mall and a residential subdivision.


Hawks Manor, a group of investors, will develop the project while St. Elizabeth will manage and run the manor through a 99-year lease agreement. Naatz Construction will be the general contractor.


The Connecticut-based Sisters of Charity owns St. Elizabeth, which operates the 43-bed nursing home at 502 St. Lawrence Ave., Janesville.


The nursing home will remain as is, Mother Saegaert said. But a need for it will remain, as a waiting list includes about 200 people, she said.


People are ready to move out of their homes because of difficult maintenance, financial drain or the inability to live alone, she said.


“We would like to be able to draw people on the waiting list for the nursing home to come over here so we can fill their needs,” she said.


The assisted living facility, however, is not meant to be a feeder to the nursing home, she said.


“If we can help them with a good living style at an assisted living, they may be able to age in place and never have to move,” she said. “That’s really our goal.”


Feasibility studies for the manor show a need for assisted living in the area because competing facilities have occupancy rates at 80 percent to 100 percent, said David Baehr, a member of Hawks Manor.


“We feel we really will appeal well to many of the possible residents who have lived their entire lives in a rural setting and don’t necessary want to enter into the city life,” he said.


But St. Elizabeth isn’t looking to pose competition to current facilities, Mother Saegaert said.


The baby boomers are looking for a lifestyle different than previous generations—more activity and social interaction, she said. To fill that need, the manor will include features such as Wi-Fi and a full activity calendar including “happy hour” and a Nintendo Wii game system, she said.


“By providing that here in assisted living, there are many people out there who are going to have trouble finding housing that will meet those needs,” she said. “So we do not expect to take any business away from the existing assisted living facilities.”


What's planned

Plans for St. Elizabeth Manor on Highway 11 in Footville include:


-- A faith-based community: A 5,000-square-foot, lower-level convent will be included with three sisters already assigned.


While the facility will be Catholic-based, any denomination will be able to use the chapel in the facility. Half of the nursing home residents now are not Catholic, but their needs are met using local pastors, Mother Marie Julie Saegaert said.


“And we’ll do that here,” she said.


-- Large activity room and dining hall.


“It’s our hope that we could make it a very familial atmosphere for resident to invite family over for gatherings,” said David Baehr, a member of the Hawks Manor investors group.


-- Units will feature private bathrooms, ample storage and several will have private kitchens. Room selections range from 257 square feet to 731 square feet.


Plans also are under way for development around the manor including:


-- Independent living: Three buildings of 45 units each—one and two bedrooms—would make up a retirement care apartment complex next to the manor with a pond in the middle.


Rentals are projected to start at $1,500 a month.


Construction will begin later this year on the independent living units when developers have commitments to 60 percent of the units.


-- Commercial strip mall: Plans are in the conceptual design phase for a strip mall called Hawks Courtyard, across from the manor at Footville Hanover Road and Highway 11. Hawks Manor has tentative commitments from a clinic, beauty salon, physical therapist, coffee/ice cream shop, wine and cheese shop, video store, real estate office and a banking center.


-- Hawks Wooded Ridge: A 50-acre subdivision of 105 residential lots is planned for just east of the St. Elizabeth community. Developers are selling lots and will be starting construction on roads soon.


Seminars to be held

Series of seminars for the St. Elizabeth Manor


-- St. Elizabeth’s continuum of care: 2 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, June 1, at Bass Creek Golf Course Clubhouse, 1303 S. Murphy Road, Footville.


-- Preview of the active lifestyle at the St. Elizabeth Community: 2 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, July 13, at St. Elizabeth Nursing home, 502 St. Lawrence Ave., Janesville.


-- Benefits of independent living in the St. Elizabeth Community: 2 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3, Bass Creek Golf Course Clubhouse.


-- St. Elizabeth’s palliative care: 2 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 7, at the nursing home.


-- Sneak preview of the new 70-unit assisted living facility: 2 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5, at St. Elizabeth Manor, 111 Commercial Drive, Footville.



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