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St. Francis Manor Celebrates 40 Years of Service with Groundbreaking for the Hammond Center for Assisted Living

July 11, 2017

After threats of storms for the afternoon of June 29, it turned out to be sunny and hot as roughly 60 people gathered for a ceremonial groundbreaking on the site of the future Hammond Center for Assisted Living.  St. Francis Manor board members and spouses, St. Francis Manor Foundation board members and spouses, St. Francis Manor staff members, Seeland Park residents, Mayor Gordon Canfield, and future customers of the assisted living community were in attendance at the special event.

Those participating in the groundbreaking included:  Dion Schrack, St. Francis Manor Executive Administrator; Tiffany Criswell, St. Francis Manor Administrator/RN; Mark Mawe, St. Francis Manor Board Chair; Gary Shebeck, St. Francis Manor Board Secretary/Treasurer; Tom Lacina, St. Francis Manor Foundation Board Chair; Mindy Van Dyke, St. Francis Manor Director of Development; Ken Eggman and Betty Hammond, St. Francis Manor Foundation board members; Sheri Rice, Area Specialist, Rural Development USDA; Kim Sleege, Architect, Select Structural Engineering; Bob Jurgensen, Vice President, Commercial Banking, Great Western Bank; and Bill Bushong, Bushong Construction Company, General Contractor.

Following the groundbreaking, around 150 attendees celebrated the occasion with refreshments and hors d’oeuvres in the social center.  In celebration of St. Francis Manor’s 40th Anniversary, Foundation Board Chair Tom Lacina began the program by sharing a brief history of St. Francis Manor.  He stated that in February 1977, the new 51-bed care facility opened and that now St. Francis Manor has expanded to a 78-bed skilled healthcare center providing skilled nursing care and rehabilitation services as well as long-term nursing and restorative care.  He recognized long-time administrator Dion Schrack stating, “Under Dion’s 35-year leadership and with the help of progressive board members, excellent staff members, and generous donations through the St. Francis Manor Foundation, the campus has expanded to 31 acres to accommodate the changing needs of the residents we serve.”  

Tom continued by saying that years ago Dion and the board members recognized a growing need for an independent senior living community, and in 1989, construction began on the first of now six development phases that comprise Seeland Park, named in honor of Dick Seeland, a long-time St. Francis Manor & Seeland Park board member.  Following the completion of Phase VI, Seeland Park will include 150 independent-living residences.

Other highlights Tom noted were the addition of Community Services of St. Francis in 2007 to provide affordable private home healthcare services to individuals needing either short-term or long-term assistance; the establishment of the St. Francis Manor Foundation in 2009, a 501(c)3 organization to support St. Francis Manor in its charitable endeavors; and a $5.25 million construction and renovation project between 2010 and 2013 which added a rehabilitation clinic for in- and out-patient therapy services, a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen, an additional dining room, administration offices and conference rooms, as well as remodeling of the entire facility including all 50 resident rooms.   

“Today, as St. Francis Manor celebrates 40 years of service, we also celebrate the future addition of assisted living to our life plan community!  The Hammond Center for Assisted Living, named in honor of Montie and Betty Hammond, former and current Board Members of the St. Francis Manor Foundation, will complete St. Francis Manor’s Continuum of Care.  St. Francis Manor is continuing its long legacy of care. The Sisters of St. Francis cared for the community through their work at St. Francis Hospital. Today, in the same location, St. Francis Manor, Seeland Park, and the upcoming Hammond Center continue this tradition of serving the residents of Grinnell and surrounding communities,” concluded Tom.

Next, as Dion Schrack took the microphone to speak, Ken Eggman, a St. Francis Manor Foundation board member and Seeland Park resident, came forward and announced his new $40,000 pledge to the building campaign in recognition of St. Francis Manor’s 40th Anniversary and presented Dion with a check for $20,000.  Following him was Rosie Schrack with her donation of $5,000 to get Ken’s matching challenge started. Dion was humbled by the donations and stated, “Ken has pledged a total of $100,000 in three different pledges and we are so grateful to him.  We will know in a few weeks exactly how much more will be needed to finish the lower level of the Hammond Center.” 

Dion then introduced Sheri Rice with USDA Rural Development who is providing the $3.5 million loan, Bob Jurgensen with Great Western Bank who is providing the construction loan for the project, Kim Sleege with Select Structural Engineering who is the architect and Bill and John Bushong with Bushong Construction who provided a “very good bid allowing us to be able to proceed with the project.  We worked with Bushong Construction on our last addition and remodeling project and are thrilled we are able to work with them again.  Once they get started, the project will take one year to complete so we anticipate the assisted living community opening by the fall of 2018.”

The 2-story Hammond Center for Assisted Living will include 20 assisted living apartments (studio, 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom) as well as community areas for dining, activities and socialization.  The lower level will offer a variety of amenities to help keep assisted living and independent living residents physically, mentally and socially active.

“As St. Francis Manor continues its legacy of care with the future Hammond Center for Assisted Living, please help us match Ken’s challenge pledge by donating to our building campaign,” Dion concluded.  Checks made payable to “St. Francis Manor Foundation” may be dropped off or mailed to 2021 4th Avenue, Grinnell, IA  50112.

 View more photos from the groundbreaking event

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