Au­thor­ity’s new nurs­ing home ad­vances

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - By Fran Hunter Smithville Times con­tribut­ing writer

The Smithville Hos­pi­tal Au­thor­ity is nar­row­ing down its ar­chi­tect for its nurs­ing home pro­posed near Se­ton hos­pi­tal that will re­place the 50-year-old Tow­ers Nurs­ing Home build­ing.

The au­thor­ity’s board met last month and voted to see a pre­sen­ta­tion by ar­chi­tect Bill Davies of Le­an­der-based DFD Ar­chi­tects as well as pre­sen­ta­tions by two pos­si­ble project man­agers for the pro­posed $8 mil­lion to $10 mil­lion nurs­ing home.

Dono­van Dekowski with Re­gency Health­care Sys­tem said he ex­pects res­i­den­tial num­bers to in­crease by about 20 per­cent with the new build­ing. Re­gency Health­care man­ages Tow­ers Nurs­ing Home for the au­thor­ity and will lease the new build­ing to run a nurs­ing home.

“There is enough pop­u­la­tion that there are Smithville peo­ple re­sid­ing in Austin nurs­ing homes, and we will get them all back,” Dono­van said. “With the new build­ing, we’ll be able to pro­vide the same ser­vices that Austin homes do.”

City Man­ager Robert Tam­ble asked the au­thor­ity to in­clude a drainage study since the build­ing will be lo­cated in “the bowl,” 256 acres of sur­round­ing lands that cul­mi­nate in the low­est el­e­va­tions around Sev­enth Street, which ex­pe­ri­ences flood­ing dur­ing heavy rains.

The city is start­ing to build a 3.4-acre grass de­ten­tion pond with Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency grant funds be­hind Sev­enth and Mar­burger streets to al­le­vi­ate flood­ing. Tam­ble cau­tioned that the pond only ad­dresses cur­rent de­vel­op­ment and does not in­clude the new nurs­ing home fa­cil­ity.

“We have to make sure that water doesn’t back-flow to Sev­enth Street,” he said. “Get us in­volved early and we’ll help you get through the process.”

Dekowski said Re­gency Health­care also would be as in­volved in the project as the au­thor­ity wanted it to be. “We’ll help be­cause we have a vested in­ter­est,” Dekowski said.

Au­thor­ity board mem­bers green­lighted the new nurs­ing home build­ing in De­cem­ber and in Fe­bru­ary de­cided who will be in­volved in the project.

At its Feb. 21 board meet­ing, the board voted to see a pre­sen­ta­tion from ar­chi­tect Bill Davies of DFD Ar­chi­tects, who has de­signed over 400 nurs­ing homes, in­clud­ing a fa­cil­ity in Cuero, which mem­bers of the au­thor­ity toured last month.

The group liked the Cuero de­sign be­cause two wings of the build­ing sep­a­rated the long-term res­i­dents from those seek­ing short-term re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion care. Re­quest­ing a mod­i­fied Cuero build­ing plan rather than start­ing from scratch may lower de­sign costs, said Trent Krienke, the at­tor­ney rep­re­sent­ing the au­thor­ity.

The board also voted to view pre­sen­ta­tions from two pos­si­ble project man­agers, Zachary Steven­son of ADAMS Man­age­ment Ser­vices and Kyle Work­man of Work­man Con­struc­tion Ad­vi­sors.

Af­ter a draft plan, the au­thor­ity will send out a re­quest for bids for con­struc­tion. The board dis­cussed adding the tear down of the ex­ist­ing Tow­ers build­ing as part of the re­quest.

At the re­quest of the au­thor­ity, Smithville in De­cem­ber an­nexed the 6.1 acres where the new nurs­ing home is go­ing and in Jan­uary the prop­erty was re­zoned to high­way com­mer­cial.

Af­ter the new nurs­ing home is com­plete, the 5.1 acres hous­ing the Tow­ers Nurs­ing Home and for­mer Smithville Med­i­cal Clinic may be torn down to make way for smaller homes for se­nior liv­ing.

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