Janesville37°

Rock County getting new nursing home

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Catherine W. Idzerda
September 9, 2011
— In less than a month, Rock County will break ground for a new skilled nursing facility designed to replace Rock Haven.

On Thursday, the Rock County Board approved the borrowing package, the architect and the contract for construction for a new 128-bed nursing home.


The new nursing home, which will be built to the east of the current building, will feature a more home-like atmosphere, a better use of space, and, for the first time in history, air conditioning, officials say.


The cost of the project is $30.7 million, and the board authorized general obligation bond—borrowing—that is not to exceed $29.3 million.


The current nursing home isn’t air-conditioned, and many of the residents’ bathrooms aren’t completely wheelchair-accessible. In addition, in 2013, federal law will require all nursing homes to have complete fire sprinkler systems, according to a memo provided to board members before Thursday’s meeting.


The new building will also feature geothermal heating and cooling, a system that costs more up front, but after the five-year payback period, will mean annual savings of more than $137,000 annually.


“In 2009, the county did a study that analyzed various options,” said Randy Terronez, assistant to the Rock County administrator.


Options included retrofitting the current building to meet the sprinkler system requirement or building a new facility—the first option was almost as expensive as the second, the study showed.


Along with traditional nursing home patients, Rock Haven serves the members of the county’s chronically mentally ill and developmentally disabled population who are unable to live in the community. Serving these populations elsewhere would cost significantly more, the report said.


Borrowing for construction will be rolled into the county’s debt service. In 2012, the new borrowing will increase the debt service’s portion of the tax levy by 0.93 percent, Terronez said.


In 2013, the debt service portion of the tax levy will actually decrease due to a variety of factors including savings from the new facility.


Eppstein Uhen will provide the architectural services for the project, and C.G. Schmidt of Milwaukee will be the contractor.



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