FOSTORIA - Founded in 1904 by the Church of the Brethren, Good Shepherd Home in Fostoria continues to be a haven for those needing care.
Thursday, the renovated and expanded Brethren Court Assisted Living wing hosted an open house, dedication service and public tours.
Executive Director Chris Widman welcomed residents and guests. Following the invocation by the Rev. Richard Hofmann (a villa resident), John Ballinger, executive director, Northern Ohio District Church of the Brethren, gave remarks. A bread-breaking ceremony to symbolize the importance of hospitality took place. Liz Darnell and Kevin Gordon provided music.
Widman said the renovation and expansion project has been a long time in the making. It was first discussed in September 2006.
"It was a $3 million project and realistically, it was one of the most complicated because we did it in an occupied space. We would work and then have to put everything away," Widman said.
Some residents had to be moved to other rooms to vacate an area and get the work done.
The new wing added 10 assisted-living suites, and an extra room was added to some of the studio apartments to convert them into suites. Widman said the assisted living went from 39 rooms to 54, while noise and disruption was kept to a minimum.
"This project is done, but we're still looking for ways to make improvements. The renovation did not involve every room, so we're still evaluating. At a slower pace, we'll do the remaining rooms," Widman said.
A part of the project was the addition of the Adrian Movie House that is to seat about 10 people. Widman said he plans to feature a movie for a five-day run every week. Residents are to have a contest to choose the first film to play.
Because some residents have frequent visitors who stay for meals, an expansion of the dining room was incorporated in the project. Round tables can accommodate wheel chairs, and extra seats may be pulled in, if needed.
Clouse Construction was the general contractor for the entire project, in conjunction with a number of local subcontractors.
"That was the emphasis from our board of directors. They wanted to keep things local," Widman said. "We've received so much community support, we wanted to make sure we utilized community resources."
Len Clouse and project manager Howard Magers attended the dedication.
Magers pointed out the energy-efficient features such as fluorescent lighting in the dining room. Clouse said the renovated wing resembles a motel more than a care center. Widman said part of the credit for the atmosphere goes to Rachel Holman, the home's community awareness coordinator, who helped select furnishings and color schemes.
Holman was one of the people giving tours. She said she was excited about the theater, which is to have a new popcorn machine and a lighted marquee in the "Main Street" hallway. The expanded chapel has a tabernacle for the Blessed Sacrament for Catholic services and distribution to Catholic residents.
Holman showed the studio apartments that now have a "bump out" to add a second room, and the newly constructed suites.
All have updated bathrooms with European-style showers for safer accessibility. Each area also has a call light.
The units in the new wing have larger kitchen areas than the renovated apartments.
"They have their own furnace, their own heating and cooling, so they can regulate it themselves," Holman said. "They all have a fridge and a microwave and a large closet."
Holman said, with the addition, the home now occupies the entire block between Columbus and Springfield avenues.
Good Shepherd Home is located at 725 Columbus Avenue (SR 18), Fostoria. More information
is available online at www.goodshepherdhome.com or by calling (419) 937-1801.