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Waupun Christian Home grand opening set for Jan. 13

January 7, 2019
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From left, Agnesian Healthcare/SSM Health Director of Facilities Dan Loest, Christian Home Executive Director Barbara Wirkus and Agnesian Healthcare/SSM Health Vice President of Long Term Care Doug Trostget a look at the cafeteria during a recent tour of the Waupun Christian Home & Rehabilitation Center. The Christian Home's new facility is nearly complete and will host a grand opening on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

WAUPUN -- On the front door of the new Waupun Christian Home is a warning: “Please check your boots! Absolutely no mud in the building. Thank you,” followed by a smiley face.

The 104,784-square-foot, $22.4 million project features skilled nursing, assisted living and memory care services. It is now nearing completion amid a tornado of finishing touches, including mounting art on the walls, arranging furniture and a final wiping-down of woodwork, cupboards and countertops.

Everything must be in tip-top shape for the grand opening celebration, set for Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. A crowd of people is expected, with overflow parking available with shuttle services at the nearby Central Wisconsin Christian School.

“We are so very proud to bring this new facility to the Waupun community,” said Doug Trost, vice president of long-term care for SSM Health at Home. “The community has been so incredibly supportive of the Christian Home, and we are excited with the new opportunities this facility will offer to older adults and their families.”

The Christian Home & Rehabilitation Center was founded more than 70 years ago by Waupun area churches. They will be very present in the new facility with an on-staff chaplain and an attractive, non-denominational chapel installed thanks to a capital campaign that contributed seed funding. A hearing loop is installed in the chapel to prevent hearing aid feedback, while religious services can be broadcast into residents’ rooms.

The new facility, at 452 Fox Lake Road, also features:

Skilled nursing50 private rooms with individual bathrooms/showersLong-term and short-stay rehabilitation wings2,436-square-foot rehabilitation gymAssisted livingTwo studio apartments26 single-bedroom apartmentsTwo two-bedroom apartmentsLibrary/media centerFitness centerCommon areas for socializingMemory care18 additional beds (adjacent to an existing 18-bed memory care facility), scheduled to open spring 2019

Employees and volunteers will move residents of the old Christian Home & Rehabilitation Center at 331 Bly St. into their new home on Jan. 16. Although the move is a positive one, it can still be a challenge.

“We’re being very careful to ease the transition from the old facility to the new one,” said Christian Home Executive Director Barbara Wirkus. “Change is hard for all of us, but especially so as we get older. We’re making sure that the upcoming move is as comfortable as possible for our residents, to keep the stress of moving to a minimum.”

The new facility will offer attractions including a two-story atrium lobby, the chapel, an in-house kitchen, a gift shop and more.

“Our new facility is built with all the comforts of home and more to meet the needs of our residents and their families,” Wirkus said. “It is elegant and beautiful with cathedral ceilings that allow natural light. Residents and families will have multiple areas where they can enjoy conversations and quiet moments, like our bistro.”

Dan Loest, director of facilities for Agnesian/SSM Health, has been involved from the start, and is eager to see the two-year project completed.

“We started putting it all together in fall of 2016,” Loest said. “We broke ground in late fall of 2017 and continued the building process in spring and summer. We met every other week with the multiple trades and contractors, bringing all of the questions to the table and trying to put the best plan forward. There were a few hiccups along the way, but we dealt with them early on and there was nothing that we couldn’t accommodate as part of our process. It all came together in the end, and people can see the great results when they attend our grand opening.”

Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction Inc. served as architect, with CD Smith Construction as general contractor.

“It’s so beautiful,” Wirkus said.

During a recent tour, Loest finalized items on a punch list, including such details as rehanging a print that had been mounted on the wall upside down.

Comfort and beauty have been considered in every detail, with each apartment having a “front porch” with its own light and a shelf allowing for seasonal decorations. A professional decorator has been part of the process.

“I think the residents will find these spaces very comfortable -- a soothing environment,” Trost said. “I think it will appeal to a lot of different tastes.”

Lissa Rolenc of Germantown-based 4 design LLC consulted on the colors and textures used.

VerHage Furniture Mart and Werner Harmsen Furniture & Flooring will be loaning furniture for the grand opening, to give a glimpse of how comfortable and tastefully arranged the apartments can be.

State-of-the art technology is included as well, with the latest in resident monitoring, in-house food service (there are no stoves in the apartments, only microwaves), laundry facilities and/or service, WiFi for residents and staff and individual furnaces so residents can set temperatures to their own comfort levels. Residents will be provided with wearable monitors for their own safety if they fall or need other assistance.

Outdoor patio areas are available for nice weather days, and beauty shop with two stations to support good conversation and a little fussing. The Margaret Blekkink Family Suite is also available for family use during hospice care or for a special diagnosis, allowing the utmost of privacy and reflection.

“Our short-term rehabilitation area offers access to physical, occupational and speech therapy, along with outpatient therapy options,” Wirkus said. “A private entry into our 2,436-square-foot rehabilitation gym and spa make this an added convenience for those individuals following surgery, illness or injury.”

All of the residential units are currently full, with a waiting list in place for those who wish to move there.

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