Hospital To Begin Senior Campus

August 6, 2004
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GRAND HAVEN — North Ottawa Community Health System plans to begin construction next spring on the first facilities of what will become a broader senior campus in the years ahead.

The small Grand Haven health system received approval in late July for a 20-bed expansion to the licensed capacity for a new nursing home planned for a 28-acre site near Lake Michigan in SpringLakeTownship

The approval, coupled with an earlier certificate of need the state issued in late May to relocate the 64-bed North Ottawa Care Center, enables North Ottawa Community Health to proceed with the $7.9 million project that would consolidate many senior care services at a single campus, including an eight-bed hospice unit.

The health system envisions the site eventually evolving into a broader campus with assisted- and independent-living units and other amenities.

“It is by far one of the most comprehensive projects that we have undertaken in the last several years,” said Heather Johnston, North Ottawa Community Health’s director of marketing and public relations.

North Ottawa Community Health plans to develop the new nursing home to replace an aging facility that’s falling into disrepair and is no longer conducive to today’s standard of care. An aging population also is a driving factor behind the project for North Ottawa Community Health, which counts the 45- to 54-year-old age group as its single largest patient population, Johnston said.

Health system administrators will spend the next six months finalizing design and architectural plans in anticipation of a spring groundbreaking. They’re also awaiting a decision from the Michigan Department of Community Health on the proposed $1 million hospice care unit.

Occupancy of the new facilities is targeted for late summer or early fall of 2006.

The new nursing home and hospice unit would provide the foundation for a broader campus North Ottawa Community Health envisions developing for senior citizens at the SpringLake site. The facilities planned right now would only use about 13 acres of the 28 acres available.

“I can see it developing continually,” North Ottawa Care Center Administrator Susan Pawlak said in late June when the health-care planning agency Alliance for Health endorsed the expansion.

North Ottawa Community Health would look at developing independent and assisted living centers once the new nursing home and hospice unit are completed. The health system would likely undertake the next phase of developing the senior campus through a partnership with an outside developer, Johnston said.    

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