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Londonderry nursing home would be a first for town

Union Leader Correspondent

June 13. 2014 7:40PM

LONDONDERRY — Londonderry’s population, like the rest of the state’s, is aging.

But unlike other communities of similar size, the town has no long-term care or rehabilitation facilities.

That could soon change.

THI of New Hampshire at Derry, LLC, is hoping to build a $14.3 million, 109-plus bed nursing home off Mammoth Road in Londonderry. The company operates another long-term care facility, Pleasant Valley Nursing Home, in Derry, according to the organization’s website.

The state’s Health Services Planning and Review Board will hold a public hearing on the Londonderry project on Thursday, June 19. State law requires project officials to obtain a certificate of need prior to the construction of any new healthcare facility, including long-term care facilities.

Contacted on Friday, Cindy Carrier, a member of the state board, confirmed the project was in formal review process. Because the project is currently in the midst of the review process, Carrier said she was unable to discuss specifics, though noted that a decision was expected at this month’s meeting.

However, should the board ultimately confirm a need for additional information, the process could potentially stretch into mid-July, Carrier said.

According to application documents submitted to the state, Traditions at Londonderry would fill a large void in the region. Project officials noted that the state’s determined need for nursing home beds is 40 beds per thousand Rockingham County residents over aged 65.

As of 2013, there were 33 beds per thousand.

An estimated 58 percent of Traditions at Londonderry residents would be covered by Medicaid, officials said.

In a letter dated Sept. 10, 2013, Linda Hotchkiss, owner of Compassionate Care Hospice in Londonderry, voiced her support for Traditions.

“Traditions of Londonderry will be a state-of-the-art facility ready to provide health care services in today’s ever-increasing geriatric population,” Hotchkiss wrote.

Project officials presented conceptual plans for the skilled nursing facility to the Londonderry Planning Board on April 9.

Preston Hunter of Eckman Construction and Bronz Peterson of Fundamental Administrative Services (FAS) said the site was chosen following a thorough search for suitable property in the region and he expected the state to grant a certificate of need.

“Our goal in constructing this project is centered on hospitality rather than a stereotypical nursing home,” Peterson noted.

According to project engineer Steve Keach, conceptual plans called for a one-story facility, with 46 private rooms and 53 semi-private rooms. Two courtyards would allow residents to safely enjoy the outdoors. The main entrance to the facility would come from Mammoth Road, though plans have not yet been finalized. A second entrance for employees and deliveries is being planned for 3 Grenier Field Road.

Peterson estimated there would be about 100 employees working at the new nursing facility, spread between shifts.

Planning Board members expressed enthusiasm over the project, noting that it’s a good fit for the proposed site and would be the first facility of its kind in Londonderry.

If the project gets the green light from the state and the town, it would take approximately a year to build, according to Peterson.

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