Methodist Village raises $2.8 million for expansion, moving to public campaign phase

by Aric Mitchell ([email protected]) 1,121 views 

Methodist Village Senior Living (MVSL) has raised $2.8 million of the $4 million target for phase one of its life plan community expansion in Fort Smith at its Euper Lane campus. The phase includes a Center of Excellence for Assisted Living and Residential Memory Care, which will be a certified Alzheimer’s Special Care Unit facility.

With 70% of the fundraising target accounted for, the capital campaign’s next move is the public portion.

Phillip Bryant, Methodist Village Board President, added that as the senior population continues to increase, “those affected by dementia-related diseases continues to rise, adding that MVSL is “excited to launch this public phase of our campaign.”

“We are thankful to every person who has made a charitable investment in the campaign thus far, and we ask those people who have not yet contributed to please join us and help us build this wonderful Life Plan Community for seniors, be it our families, friends or neighbors. All gifts are welcome, meaningful and appreciated.” All gifts will be matched at the end on a “dollar-for-dollar” basis, thus doubling each donor’s impact.

Raising the extra $1.2 million will activate an $800,000 challenge grant to assist in completing the first of a three-phase project. The organization is hoping to get there by October. It plans to launch construction on the $9 million, 44,000-square-foot facility soon for an estimated November 2018 completion. Van Buren-based Rick Mooney will serve as the general contractor. Preliminary site and utility work are already underway.

The Assisted Living and Memory Care Center will be combined with other planned enhancements and upgrades to complement existing programs and services on the MVSL campus. Currently, the organization is licensed for 145 long-term or skilled nursing care beds, 96 retirement apartments, and a short- and long-term rehabilitation program offering occupational, physical, and speech therapies.

The entirety of phase one will include 26 assisted living residences, various amenities, and 19 secure memory care studio apartments. Common space includes but will not be limited to activity and conversation areas, chapel, community room, multi-use medical treatment room, salon, welcome area, and wellness center.

In addition to residences, the Assisted Living Center will include a large activity room, restaurant-style dining room, and living room with fireplace. There also will be a resident laundry room, outdoor courtyard, and garden with covered porch, stonework, fencing, and a water feature.

The residential Memory Care Center will include an activity and mudroom; interactive dining room; living room; lounge; program and sensory room; outdoor courtyard and garden with covered porch; and an infinity walking trail.

Phases two and three will address improvements to the Care Center for nursing home and rehabilitation services and independent living residences for retirees.

“Many of today’s seniors are living longer, and they deserve a community like Methodist Village Senior Living, where they can come together and surround themselves with traditions of excellence and leading-edge initiatives to foster the vibrant life they are accustomed to living,” said Dr. Taylor Prewitt, honorary campaign co-chairman. “This organization has always been a leader in terms of innovation and reputation, and we would not be where we are today without the philanthropy — gifts of talent, time and treasure — of greater Fort Smith and the River Valley.”

Construction of Methodist Nursing Home began in 1960 with the first resident arriving on March 19, 1961. In 1975, “The Village” – independent living retirement apartments – were added to the 27-acre site at Euper Lane. About 80% of residents are female and more than 50% are considered “low income” by federal guidelines.

Starting in 1974, the site began a 40-year mortgage with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The agreement concluded in 2014, enabling Methodist Village to push through with the Life Plan Community concept. Fundraising efforts are ongoing, but it has received a $1 million challenge gift from the Windgate Charitable Foundation and the Miller Family Foundation contingent on $2 million of independent fundraising.

The site provides skilled nursing services, as well as physical, occupational, and speech therapies to assist with recovering from surgery, an illness, or in the treatment of complex medical conditions.

Methodist Village officials told Talk Business & Politics in a previous interview the expansion of services will result in the full-time equivalent of 27 new jobs and an additional $1 million in payroll (combined salary and benefits) to the Fort Smith region, an average of about $37,000 per employee. That is a projection that looks out to 2020, which will be the facility’s first year of stabilization. It does not count the construction jobs that will be created during buildout stages. In addition to the employment numbers, the organization has 200 volunteers.

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