Fair Haven gets state OK for addition


SIDNEY — After two years of talking, hoping, dreaming and planning, Shelby County commissioners and Fair Haven Shelby County Home administrators can now take the next big step toward a major addition to the nursing home facility.

The Ohio Department of Health approved Fair Haven’s certificate of need, Aug. 24. That means bonds can be issued and the project put out for bid.

The certificate of need approved by the state is a document that details the need for the addition, describes the current state of the building and proposes how the project will be accomplished, according to a Fair Haven release Thursday, Aug. 31.

Freytag and Associates, of Sidney, drafted the designs for the addition, which will give Fair Haven 66 new private rooms and eight new companion suites and for renovations that will create 20 private rooms with shared bathrooms and four companion suites in a relocated memory unit, updated dining facilities and three secure courtyards.

Obtaining Ohio Department of Health approval can be a lengthy process but local commissioners did what they could to speed it along. Shelby County Commissioner Tony Bornhorst hand-delivered the certificate to offices in Columbus in late June, talked with advisers there, made some changes to the document and returned to Columbus a week later to hand-deliver it again.

“I want to thank the ODH,” he said. “The ODH got this thing through about as fast as they could do it.”

Fair Haven Executive Director Anita Miller said that approval usually takes about six months. This approval came within two months.

Cincinnati-based brokers Ross Sinclair & Associates were contracted in May to handle sales of bonds to fund the project. The certificate of need listed the cost at $13,036,500. The state health department, in approving the certificate, set a maximum capital expenditure amount of $14,340,150, including a 10 percent contingency. Bonds should be offered sometime this month.

In preparation for the construction project, the commissioners traveled to Chicago in May to obtain a bond rating for the county, the first it has needed since the construction of the county jail. The rating, AA-, is a good one, Commissioner Tony Bornhorst said.

“They should sell well. This type of bond is highly sought after,” Bornhorst said.

Miller and Bornhorst both said they expect the bidding process to begin next week. Bids will probably be due by the end of the month and groundbreaking may take place yet this autumn.

“I sure would like to (break ground),” Bornhorst said. “We’ve already moved dirt in place. It’s been allowed to settle in place. It’s already compacted. A lot of preliminary work is ready for the building.”

“If we can pour footers in the fall, that puts us ahead in the spring,” Miller said.

‏The project has been in discussion for a full two years. Facility administration and architects at Freytag and Associates worked to develop a comprehensive plan that would promote a homelike atmosphere for resident living while also improving staff workflow and efficiency. ‏One of the oldest wings, which is currently unoccupied, will be demolished and replaced with the contemporary addition. ‏The current Arbor Hall will be renovated, and the current memory care wing, the other oldest wing of the facility, will be closed.

“It’s a long time coming and we need to move into the 21st century,” said Bornhorst.

Miller said staff and residents, alike, will be excited to see construction start.

‏”This project is so important to Fair Haven’s future. This investment will help our county home remain competitive in the ever-changing field of long-term care,” she said.

Bornhorst concurs.

“It’ll be a great, great improvement for Fair Haven and the residents who reside there. But we have to get through some dust and dirt first,” he said.

By Patricia Ann Speelman

pspeelman@sidneydailynews.com

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.