Wellness building opens at UP Home

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


In conjunction with the 70 anniversary of the United Presbyterian Home, the new Garrett Health and Wellness Center building has opened at the United Presbyterian Home.

After over two years in the making, the $6.2 million building, which boasts 17 private resident rooms upstairs and a full wellness center downstairs, is opened on a temporary permit. Half of the funding for the building was raised from the community with a capital campaign. The remainder was financed. Once a permanent residence permit is issued, which is expected at the beginning of 2018, the wellness center will be offered to community people over 55 for a membership fee.

?When we looked at our facilities we decided there were some goals we wanted to meet,? administrator Erin Drahota said. ?A major one was that we wanted to convert to more private rooms at our facility, because most people don?t want to share rooms. We looked at ways we could accomplish that without getting rid of a lot of beds or the number of people at our facility.?

An open house held in conjunction with a ribbon cutting for the building drew over 300 people from the community to see the new building on the UP campus.

Drahota said with the opening of the new building, focus will now turn to renovating several of the rooms in the main facility and converting them to private rooms. Drahota said the goal is to go from 20 private rooms to 43 private rooms, increasing the overall toal beds in the facility from 52 to 59. She said before the beginning of the project, the home was having to turn away referrals, using most of its beds for campus residents. Drahota said she hopes the facility will be able to handle more people from the community.

After the upper level was planned, the question of what would be done with the lower level was addressed. Drahota said the home?s wellness program had been in place for 18 years and was heavily used. The decision was made to create a new wellness space on the lower level.

?We have expanded the amount of space we have so we don?t feel like we are on top of each other when we are working out,? wellness director Amy Kleese said. ?We have wonderful new pieces of strength training equipment. it?s clean and user-friendly. It is a quieter atmosphere. Our residents are enjoying it so far.?

She said there is a special fitness studio for special fitness classes. The fitness are also has an indoor track iving residents the opportunity to walk. There is also a warm water therapy pool with two treadmills in the center.

Drahota said in addition to the renovation of rooms in the main building, the home also plans to add some more common spaces in the current building.