SIDNEY — After months of work, the new addition is officially open at Fair Haven Shelby County Home.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by residents, former residents and county officials was held Monday, Aug. 12.
Administrator Anita Miller expressed her appreciation for the support she and her staff has received since construction of the addition began in March 2018.
“This is a new phase in Fair Haven’s history,” said Miller “We are making history. In 1969 we were making history on March 23 when they were ready to roll out the red carpet and get started with the building.”
Fifty years later, the county is celebrating the addition to the nursing home, which brings the facility’s size to 28,000 square feet. There are 74 beds in the facility, which includes 66 private suites and four companion suites.
“We are delighted with the space,” said Miller.
Miller, in introducing the three Shelby County commissioners, told the audience that “these are the people who make things happen. They hold you feet to the fire if it’s (project work) not happening”
Each commissioner voiced their support for Miller and her staff during the project.
“the credit for the facility goes to Anita, her staff and the designers,” said Julie Ehemann. “This is a home that reaches out to the community.
“We couldn’t be more proud of the facility,” said Bob Guillozet. When Anita first approached us about the addition, we asked ‘are you really serious.’ It takes a team to make this come true. The residents had a say in how it looks.”
Tony Bornhorst, when it was his turn to speak, said “ditto and ditto” to his fellow commissioners’ statements.
“I’d like to compliment Anita and her staff, the architectural firm and construction team,” said Bornhorst. “The only road blocks we had were the regulations we had to jump through.”
Bornhorst said when the roadblocks appeared, Miller and her staff pulled together and came up with a solution to solve the problem.
“Bob did our fire inspections in the old building,” said Miller. “I knew he’d give us some grief from his new seat (as commissioner). I’d like to thank the commissioners for all the projects they have done in Shelby County. They help make Shelby County strong.”
Miller expressed her appreciation to those involved with the project.
“The best part of the project is us,” she said. “What makes Fair Haven a home is us. We’re going to have a positive and interesting future.”
Miller said she is often the face of the nursing home but there are many people working behind the scenes.
“There’s a lot of people doing a lot of hard work,” said Miller. “This project started out as a dream on a napkin,” she said. “I’ve worked in four other counties. I’ve been here 28 years for a reason.”
Freytag and Associates, she said, brought her dream to life with their architectural design. The company has been working on projects at the nursing home since the 1960s.
“Thomas Marker was the construction firm,” she said. The old building, she said, was also built by Thomas Marker.
“Matt Jones and family helped us with funding,” said Miller. “I’ve never borrowed that much money before and Matt told me ‘you can do it.’”
Miller said the project “created a lot of work” for Shelby County Auditor Amy Berning and Treasurer John Coffield.
“Our elected officials are phenomenal to work with,” said Miller. “Our staff — par none— is the best staff I’ve ever worked with,” she said. “We were able to pull together and get the job done.
“We know we’ve touched a lot of lives in Shelby County. Many lives have touched us. This is my Fair Haven family,” she said.
Fair Haven resident Hume Merritt, a U.S. Marine veteran, led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. Pastor Earnie Jones gave the blessing.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.