At its June public meeting, St. John’s Medical Center Board of Trustees voted to construct a 72-bed long-term care facility at a budget not to exceed $41 million. The new living center will replace a facility that is nearly 30 years old and, despite earning a coveted “5-Star” rating from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, is straining to meet current community needs. At its meeting on June 13, the St. John’s Health Foundation board voted to raise the goal for the philanthropic campaign for the new Living Center—A New Home for a New Age—to $15 million, from its initial goal of $9 million. “The Foundation is a vital medical center partner. Foundation staff and volunteers have actively and constructively participated in the planning for this essential community asset. We are exceedingly grateful for their contributions and continued support,” said St. John’s Medical Center CEO Paul Beaupré, MD.
The higher Foundation campaign goal will meet the total project funding for construction of the new facility on the campus of St. John’s Health. On May 2, 2017, Teton County voters approved a Specific Purpose Excise Tax (SPET) in the amount of $17 million. The board and administration of St. John’s Health agreed at that time to contribute $9 million toward the facility. With the Foundation’s new goal of $15 million for philanthropic support, the new living center project will be fully funded.
“The market and feasibility studies we conducted in recent months with recognized industry leaders in long-term care made a very strong case for building out to 72 beds in the initial construction of the new facility,” said Beaupré. “The data was compelling: that the demand for service will support this project and, importantly, allow us to deliver a project to the community that achieves financial sustainability sooner than a center with fewer beds.”
The Senior Living Task Force led a pragmatic and collaborative effort with Anderson Mason Dale (AMD) architects and GE Johnson Construction Company (the construction manager at-risk) to limit final project costs to $41 million. All parties involved agree that the additional $6 million will ensure that the new facility will provide long-range, flexible solutions for a skilled nursing senior living, memory care, hospice services, and short-term acute rehab capabilities.
In April 2018, St. John’s Health Board of Trustees affirmatively voted for a plan that calls for 72 units—12 more than are in the current facility. Several market studies found 72 units to be most economically viable and appropriate for meeting the needs of our unique community. With this framework as a guide, the Senior Living Task Force strategically focused on planning a new facility that offers greater personal privacy, a more spacious and home-like environment, and more life-enriching amenities.
“We are proud that our current St. John’s Living Center consistently achieves national award-winning status for the care it provides. Today, we are committed to designing a building that meets those same high standards. The expanded services made available by this modernized facility will offer safe, nurturing, and stimulating surroundings for aging family members who need a new home in the valley they love,” said Malenda Hoelscher, executive director of senior living at St. John’s.
According to Bob Grady, Foundation chair, “The community has really embraced this project from the first events promoting the SPET effort. The pacesetting financial support from our board and several families has enabled us to plan for a bigger and better facility that will be more flexible, more homelike, and more attractive to families in the Jackson Hole valley.”
A New Home for a New Age capital campaign began in September 2017 with contributions and matching funds from Old Bill’s Fun Run for Charity. St. John’s Health employees affirmed their support during the I CARE employee giving campaign. Foundation Board members have each generously pledged multi-year contributions. Finally, several local families have made significant leadership pledges in support of the campaign. In total, the St. John’s Health Foundation has secured more than $9 million toward its new $15 million capital fund-raising campaign goal.
St. John’s Health Foundation has enlisted Ed Liebzeit as chair of its campaign steering committee. Members include Paul Beaupré (CEO of the Medical Center), Jane Carey, Leslie Petersen, Shirley Piper, and Patrick Trucco. All committee members also serve as members of the St. John’s Health Foundation. Foundation staff members John Goettler and Rachel Merrell are serving as campaign directors.
“The interest in the campaign and the project has been gratifying, and I’m humbled by the generosity of members of this community.” said John Goettler, president of the Foundation. “We invite community members to support this important campaign and help us toward our $15 million goal. We are well along in our effort to create a new senior care facility that will be a valuable community asset for years to come.”