Work on the single largest private investment project ever in Walnut Ridge continues and the elderly care facility should be open this fall.
Southern Administrative Services has dedicated $10.9 million towards building the Green House Cottages of Walnut Ridge. A hard hat tour for community and business leaders was recently held at the facility.
“It’s an entirely different philosophy of care, one that prioritizes elder choice and dignity, in addition to health and safety,” said John Ponthie, managing member of Southern Administrative Services. “Elders may keep their own schedules, choose what they will eat and when, and they receive more personal attention and direct care than they would within the traditional nursing home model because of an improved staff-to-elder ratio.”
The Green House Cottages of Walnut Ridge project represents both the construction of a new long-term care campus and the redevelopment of the existing Walnut Ridge Nursing & Rehabilitation Center facility.
In the Green House Cottages, elders live in a home-like environment. In contrast to traditional nursing homes with long hallways lined with rooms, the facility is made up of small cottages with private suites surrounding a common living area. The existing building will be renovated to become exclusively private rooms. With the four new cottages, the facility will total 64 beds; there are 12 rooms for elders in each cottage.
The new cottages will add 32,000 square feet to the Walnut Ridge facility. A spa/beauty shop, library, living room with fireplace, and state-of-the-art kitchen with stainless steel appliances will be aviliable to all residents. There is no signage, no posted notifications, no beeping call lights, no flashing lights – none of the traditional visual cues of an institutional setting. Outside the cottages, landscaping and front and back porches on each cottage further simulate the atmosphere of a traditional home.
Southern has brought four to the state in Magnolia, Rison, Paragould and Little Rock. Another development is underway in Mena, to be called the Green House Cottages of Homewood.
“This is the best long-term care model there is,” said John Montgomery, the lead for special projects within Southern Administrative Services and the point person on the Walnut Ridge development. “The small-home approach to eldercare represents leaps-and-bounds improvement over traditional nursing care in many ways.”
In addition to the home-like environment and benefits that come with the cottage layout, the Green House Cottages will offer state-of-the-art therapy and high-quality, chef-driven food service, Montgomery said.
State Rep. Fran Cavenaugh, R-Walnut Ridge, said Southern Administrative Services’ investment in the Walnut Ridge community is vital for economic growth.
“This project is a win-win. On the one hand, it means job creation and increased economic activity. On the other hand, the Green House Cottages represent an improved system of care and better lifestyle for our loved ones,” she said.