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Construction under way at Heritage of Elmwood

Construction has begun on the older Alzheimer's/dementia unit at Heritage of Elmwood. Rooms will be remodeled and updated to be private single rooms. Sara Tischauser / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 3
Pillar Construction Group has begun construction on the $1 million remodel and renovation at Heritage of Elmwood. Sara Tischauser / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 3
The front desk at Heritage of Elmwood will be removed during the remodeling that started in the beginning of May. Sara Tischauser / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 3

Construction on the $1 million renovation has begun at the Heritage of Elmwood.

Dolores Radtke, Heritage of Elmwood board of directors president, said construction started at the beginning of May.

She said they spent time "getting all the people doing what they are supposed to do, answering questions, [make sure] all on same page." This meant filling out a lot paperwork and multiple meetings.

Before construction began, all the water and sewer lines needed to be televised to see if there were any issues; minor problems were fixed before construction began.

The former dementia unit will be the first section to be remodeled. Radtke said at one time recommendations were made to keep Alzheimer's and dementia patients separate, so Heritage of Elmwood created a secure special unit for these patients. However, as times changed this was no longer needed.

"Times changed starting about early 2000s," Radtke said. "Decided Alzheimer's patients are better to be streamlined into the main area."

This area wasn't being used much and if it was used, it wasn't full, Radtke said. The revamped rooms will all be private with their own bathrooms. Radtke said the move to private rooms is something patients have wanted.

"We only had one private room when we opened up," Radtke said. "Now we're adding more private single rooms. People don't want to be in a room with someone else."

The renovation will include the addition of 13 private bathrooms; four rooms will also have private showers.

The front entryway will also be renovated. Radtke said they will "put all new doors in [entryway]." The hope is to "open up the front entrance." The front desk straight in from the entryway doors will be removed. It hasn't yet been decided what will go there.

Radtke said they will also renovate the chapel in the front. Windows will be replaced and the old-fashioned beams will be removed.

"Make it a little more inviting," Radtke said.

The Heritage of Elmwood renovation is being funded through a $450,000 20-year loan at 4 percent interest that the Village of Elmwood took out and a $550,000 contribution from the Heritage of Elmwood. Pillar Construction Group is performing the work.

Radtke said right now the nursing home is almost filled to capacity. A maximum of 34 patients is allowed; there are currently 30.