By Jean Verlich: CNJ new editor
A new adult residential care facility will help fill the need for assisted living in Clovis when it opens late next year, according to the project coordinator.
Prairie Meadows will be built on Dillon Street next to its sister facility, Retirement Ranch.
Four buildings each will house two one-bedroom apartments and 12 studios. Residents and their guests will have use of a community center, complete with a multipurpose room and beauty and barber shops.
Prairie Meadows and Retirement Ranch, the adjacent nursing home, are nonprofit corporations sponsored by the Presbyterian Church.
Marv Schultz, who just retired as administrator for Retirement Ranch, is overseeing Prairie Meadows development as owners representative.
Schultz said a four-year feasibility study indicated a shortage of about 90 assisted-living apartments in the area.
The original concept for Prairie Meadows was “just a building with connected halls,” Schultz said, but the design was changed to be more like small intimate houses, or cottages at the urging of then New Mexico Secretary of Health Michelle Lujan Grisham.
“Her theme was smaller groups, rather than a big house or buildings,” Schultz said. “From that the architect started doing the design to get these into smaller houses.
“We think the rooms are larger than what most people come up with,” he added. “The architect is telling us that the size of the rooms that we’ve got are far in excess of any he’s designed in the past. And I know my board does not want a closet for someone to call a studio.”
The one-bedroom apartments will be 500 square feet and the studios just over 400 square feet.
As an adult residential care facility, Prairie Meadows is designed to fill the need for assisted living for people who don’t require skilled nursing care, Schultz said.
“It gives options to people rather than having to go into a nursing home,” he said. “It will give someone that has the resources to be able to go in here, to have the privacy of an apartment. They’ll have food available to them, they’ll have activity programs, they’ll have medication reminders.”
Although actual rents have not been set, Schultz believes base rentals will start at between $2,000 and $2,500 a month. By comparison, average nursing facility care costs about $50,000 a year, according to the New Mexico Health Care Association’s Web site.
For Prairie Meadows residents, socialization will be key.
“Most of the time you hear, okay we’ll get them their food, we’ll get them their own apartment, with the privacy. We’ll give them medication reminders,” Schultz said.
“But the other part that is really quite important is socialization, rather than being in their own home, maybe becoming more withdrawn, maybe trying to get over the loss of a spouse,” he said.
Wheatfield Senior Living Community is expected to open next year in Clovis with 64 apartments, 10 retirement cottages and 24 Alzheimer’s accommodations. The center will be situated on 12 1/2 acres alongside the 11th and 12th holes of Chaparral Country Club on North Prince Street.
• Architect: Galier.Tolson.French, North Richland Hills, Texas
• Contractor: Northwest Construction, Garland, Texas
• Groundbreaking: Within 90 days
• Cost: $7 million
• Four buildings nearly 10,000 square feet each
• 5,000-square-foot community center
• Approximate number of licensed New Mexico assisted living facilities: 245, according to John Arnold, public information manager, New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department