UNITY — The Sullivan County Health Care nursing and rehabilitation complex will get a $35 million renovation, with construction slated to begin in June.
The facility, with space for 156 people, is in need of upgrades, said Mary Bourque, director of facilities and operations.
The facility includes one building that dates back to 1931, and some others that are more than 50 years old, she said. The buildings have systems that are starting to fail, and it is time to modernize, she said during a recent presentation on the project before the Claremont City Council.
“We need to address significant deferred maintenance,” she said.
The facility also needs to address current tandards for patient care, and patient and family expectations for the appropriate level of care and service, she said. Under the plans, there will be more common spaces, more windows and more bathrooms that allow residents to be able to shower without being transported to and from the showers, she said.
“We want to create a more home-like environment,” she said. “That leads to better outcomes for the residents.”
The Sanders building in the complex will be replaced, she said. The building, built in 1931, is used for administrative and office space, she said. It will be replaced with an energy efficient space that is up-to-date in terms of building and health codes.
The plans include keeping the same number of beds but creating flexibility to add more private-insurance patients and more short-term rehabilitation patients, Bourque said.
The project will see the county manager and commissioner’s offices likely moved from Newport to Unity, she said. This will allow for the Sheriff’s Office in Newport to expand into that space with minimal cost.
County Manager Derek Ferland said the $35 million estimated cost for the project may not increase the county tax rate. The projected construction costs would mean about a $2 million annual bond payment, he said.
In June of 2018, the county started getting additional funding from the state, worth about $2.8 million, he said. The county is about to retire the debt for the House of Corrections project, freeing up an additional $681,000 a year. Ferland, said the county could have about $3 million a year to put toward the nursing home project without increasing the tax rate.
Bourque said the construction is expected to start in June and run through 2023.