Weather Forecast


West Wind Village plans $4.7 million construction project

The Minnesota Department of Health has approved a $4.7 million construction and renovation project for West Wind Village in Morris. The facility will be adding a 27 unit addition (shaded in gray) off the west end of the building. (Submitted Photo)1 / 3
The 27 unit addition to West Wind Village in Morris will include one private, bariatric room; 18 private rooms; and four split double rooms that are designed for a husband and wife to share. (Submitted Photo)2 / 3
This image from a different facility owned by St. Francis Health Services shows what the courtyard of West Wind Village's new pod may look like. (Submitted Photo)3 / 3

MORRIS, Minn. -- West Wind Village has received approval from the Minnesota Department of Health to complete a $4.7 million construction and renovation project beginning in spring 2014, the first major addition to the facility since the Rossberg Alzheimer's Unit was added in 1998.

When the year-long project is complete, the facility will be able to offer single rooms to every resident as well as some specialized facilities designed for the new demands of an aging population.

"We identified a few problems with our existing building that really made us want to do an addition," said Director Michael Syltie. "It allows us to stay competitive in the marketplace."

Plans for the renovation have been in place for several years, but St. Francis Health Services, the owner and operator of the facility, was waiting for the right time to move forward with the project.

"A lot of what we do is so dependent on what the Legislature passes," said Syltie. "With this last session, we felt that it was the right time and right opportunity for us."

This spring, a moratorium exception for the project was granted by the state. Under the moratorium exception process, nursing homes can seek higher reimbursements for services while completing construction projects.

"The state took a look at the average age of nursing homes in the state of Minnesota and realized they were 50 plus years old, so they felt like there needed to be some sort of funding or money available for homes that would be able to take advantage of that," said Syltie.

West Wind Village was approved for the program in March 2013.

One of the issues in the current building that will be addressed with the addition is privacy. About 34 percent of current residents are in a shared room, but newer residents (especially aging Baby Boomers) are often looking for single rooms because privacy is an important part of their quality of life, Syltie said.

The 22,750 square foot addition off the west wing of the building will include 27 resident rooms and a dining area surrounded by gardens. Of the 27 new rooms, one will be a private, bariatric room; 18 will be private rooms; and four will be split double rooms that are designed for a husband and wife to share.

Despite the new rooms, the capacity for the facility will only be increasing six beds, from 88 to 94, because many residents currently in shared rooms will get to move into single rooms, Syltie said.

"We're taking all of our existing double rooms and moving those beds to this addition," said Syltie. "We have no worries about filling this place up."

Like other wings of the facility, the addition will feature neighborhood themes and individual house drawings to provide a community environment for residents. It will also include a dining room, indoor park and water feature.

After the addition is finished in spring 2014, the rest of West Wind Village will also be seeing some upgrades. All of the wings of the buildings will be getting new floors, and the main entry will be renovated into a four season porch.

Because the new addition will be used to house residents while each wing is being updated with new floors, Syltie didn't know when the rooms would be available for new residents.

Therapy services will also be relocated to a bigger space where the cafe currently sits. It will also offer space for out-patient services.