By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
A $20 million, 55,000-square-foot addition to Yukon’s leading senior living community is expected to be finished in June.
Construction is progressing at Spanish Cove Retirement Village, 11 Palm, and was described by facility Chief Executive Officer Don Blose as this area’s “most experienced life-plan community.”
Now in its 45th year, Spanish Cove is in the middle of “phase one” construction in an expansion and renovation project.
“We’re a life-plan community,” Blose said. “We do a really good job and our health care center has a quality reputation. In general, residents who move into our health center remain with us longer because of good care. Because of this, our health center has been full for several years.
“We’re doing this (expansion project) because we need to grow. Part of it is an obligation to the residents of Spanish Cove who buy into this life-plan community,” Blose added. “We’re a highly desired facility among hospitals for skilled nursing care services.”
The phase one expansion consists of two, two-story additions totaling 55,000 square feet with basement shelters on the north side of The Pavilion health center.
One building will feature 20 new skilled nursing apartments, increasing capacity from 47 to 67.
The second building will have 21 new assisted living apartments to add to 30 units now at the Cove. For the first time, Spanish Cove will offer assisted living “memory care” with 14 apartments and capacity for 17 people.
“This will be new for Spanish Cove,” Blose said. “Alzheimer’s and dementia are on the increase, and we certainly have need here at Spanish Cove as well.”
Construction of the skilled nursing center on the west side is expected to be completed in April with the assisted living building on the east side finished in June.
“Once both wings are completed, we’re going to move people from existing rooms to the new spaces,” Blose said.
After that move is finished, renovations and remodeling will be done to the current spaces.
Spanish Cove’s CEO estimated the entire project will be finished in November or December.
Spanish Cove Retirement Village is a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), offering amenities and programs for every phase of retirement, from independent living to home health care, skilled nursing, assisted living, and nursing care.
“Our average age out here is 86 now,” Blose said. “Our goal is to keep people living healthy and independent, having a good quality of life, for as long as possible. We want people to live longer, better.”
RESIDENTS ‘DESERVE OUR BEST’
Spanish Cove trustee Donna Yanda said the current and future expansion projects on the Cove campus will be welcome additions for all stakeholders at this area’s premier retirement community.
“As a public trust of the City of Yukon, we are committed to providing our residents with the highest level of care and best experience possible,” Yanda said. “We value the input we receive as development of the Spanish Cove campus proceeds.”
Once the expansion project is complete, Yanda pointed out the additions will greatly expand and enhance living space for all segments that Spanish Cove serves – from residents who live independently to those who require additional care.
“As the City of Yukon continues to grow, so has our Spanish Cove community,” said Yanda, a Yukon City Council member.
“This has made it apparent that we need larger, state-of-the-art facilities to serve our growing senior population. The people who call Spanish Cove home deserve our best, and this expansion will provide exactly that.”
This expansion is much needed, said longtime Spanish Cove trustee Larry Taylor.
“It will be a nice addition that hopefully will pay for itself with the additional people that we’ll be able to put in there,” Taylor said.
“They were full upstairs in the nursing home. They needed an Alzheimer’s unit. They also have made some storm shelters in the basement for that building to take the patients to.”
Spanish Cove residents enjoy a lifestyle that is maintenance-free and carefully customized to meet the needs of each person. They also enjoy a wide variety of social activities, wellness programs and educational opportunities.
“This city, state and country is going to be facing the ‘silver tsunami’,” Blose said.
“Effectively, we’ll see the population of people 65 years and older grow exponentially. By the year 2030, one in five people will be 65 and older.
“Communities like Spanish Cove that offer a life-care plan will be sought after. … This (expansion) will certainly help this community as we face these aging population surges.”
‘HIGHEST QUALITY POSSIBLE’
Contractor Boldt Construction began work on the Spanish Cove expansion project in November 2017.
“The project has progressed very nicely with Spanish Cove,” said Boldt senior project manager Trey Featherly. “The weather has not been the most cooperative considering that we’ve received record rainfall at crucial points throughout the project.
“But, we have kept morale high and have been very productive by working late into the evenings and weekends. We are focused on giving Spanish Cove the highest quality possible.”
Boldt’s senior project manager said his crews have been “blessed” to work with such a “great” client. The company has tried to keep the Cove’s administrators and residents as informed as possible about the construction progress.
“We are constantly keeping them up-to-date with slide shows that are on a loop outside the dining area,” Featherly said. “Additionally, we have a monthly visit at the residents ‘Coffee Klatch’ to share information.
“Lastly, we visit with their ‘hard hat’ committee to help keep residents up-to-date on what is happening in their building.”
This marks the latest expansion of Spanish Cove, which opened in 1974 as a senior retirement community.
The first major expansion was the addition of The Pavilion health center, which opened in 2001. When The Pavilion opened, Spanish Cove’s former nursing center on the north end of campus was renovated into a multi-use building featuring a library and fitness center.
Besides the on-campus construction, Spanish Cove over the past 15 years has purchased 28 homes on adjacent streets to the south and east, specifically Palm, Choctaw, Cypress, and Cottonwood.
These houses have been renovated into cottages for Cove residents who still live independently.
For more information, call 354-5906 or visit www.spanishcove.com