Plans to construct a new nursing home in the Granite Falls Industrial Park cleared a major hurdle this past week when it was announced that the Granite Falls Hospital and Manor’s application to receive a moratorium exception from the state was granted.
The Granite Falls Hospital submitted its moratorium exception application in December and had expected to be informed of the list of approved requests by March 25. As it turned out, the news came a day late, but for G ranite Falls Hospital Administrator and CEO George Gerlach. thankfully it was not a dollar short.
“As far as the state’s concerned it’s a go, and as far as everything on our end it’s a go, but there are a lot of hoops that we have to jump through before construction,” said Gerlach.
The amount that a nursing home is able to charge and receive from nursing home residents is dictated by the state. However, the present moratorium exception process allows for nursing homes undertaking construction projects, in excess of approximately $1.425 million, to seek higher reimbursements for services.
According to Gerlach, if the exception had not been received it might have caused the hospital to reconsider its plan to go through with the project.
Gerlach said that the hospital will now need to send out a Request for Proposals from contractors, rezone the proposed site of the nursing home in the Granite Falls Industrial Park, establish a contract with an architectural firm, secure financing and begin a community wide fundraising effort.
Though Gerlach said the hospital is still working with the USDA to explore financing options, things are already moving in the right direction after the Chippewa County Board agreed to provide the hospital with its bonding authority last week.
In Minnesota, counties hold the authority to bond for nursing homes without a referendum. But if that county has not constructed its own nursing home, it may grant that authority to a city within the county––and that’s precisely what the Chippewa County Board did for Granite Falls.
“It has no effect on (the county) financially,” said Chippewa County Auditor/Treasurer Jon Clauson, . “All it means is we’ve given them the authority. It’s an enabler for Granite Falls.”
The new building the Granite Falls Municipal Hospital hopes to build would be a 48,368 square foot, 48 bed replacement facility for Granite Falls Manor. The current building was constructed in the 1950s, and is has long been deemed in need of replacement.
“The building is pretty much worn out, so we’re looking to build something state of the art, not attached to the hospital, off site on the east side of the Granite Falls industrial park,” Gerlach said. “I’m excited about the whole thing. There are going to be private rooms, it will be a brand new facility, with lots of exposure to the outside through plenty of windows. Every room will have a shower. We’re trying to design it to be as flexible as possible; people expect more from facilities and their amenities now, and we’re trying to meet that demand.”
Page 2 of 2 - In December the Granite Falls City Council approved a purchase agreement for 41.7 acres of property in the industrial, at a cost of $2,000 per acre, or $83,400 in sum. At present, the cost of the new nursing home is expected to total an estimated $10.7 million, “It’s exciting,” Gerlach said. “We have so much on the agenda in this regard so it s just one more step but its a critical step because without we were unlikely to have proceeded.”