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Ethan Lentz, a carpenter with P.J. Hoerr, installs windows Wednesday in the new entrance lobby at Westminster Village, 2025 E. Lincoln St., Bloomington. The $33 million addition includes six new buildings to help address a waiting list of more than 300 people.

BLOOMINGTON — With six additions being built simultaneously in all directions outside Westminster Village, to be followed by interior renovations, the $33 million Westminster building project has been a challenge to stage.

"This is one of the more complex projects I've worked on," said Scott Fehr, project manager with P.J. Hoerr, the construction manager.

"We are expanding in all directions," Fehr said following a hard-hat tour of the building project with Westminster CEO Barb Nathan this week.

About 45 tradespeople were busy hammering, drilling, framing, sheeting, waterproofing, installing and soldering throughout the additions.

"We are building six additions to a place where 340 people live and 200 people work," Nathan said of the continuing care retirement community at 2025 E. Lincoln St., Bloomington. "We watch out for each other."

The retirement community, which has a waiting list of more than 340 people, is in the middle of the first phase of the planned expansion and renovation.

Following phases two and three, the work could total $70 million.

"We could not be happier with how it's going," Nathan said of progress on phase one, for which ground was broken in April. "We are on schedule and on budget."

"It's a big undertaking and the project has gone the way we envisioned it," Fehr said.

"The residents all are amazed at the speed and the changes we see daily," said Carolyn Johnston, president of the Westminster Residents' Council.

There have been frustrations, including temporary closing of a walkway between the social center and apartments, requiring residents to use a basement hallway, Johnston said. Some multipurpose rooms are temporarily closed and there have been a couple of brief utility outages, Johnston said.

But residents have enjoyed "the entertainment" of watching the construction, she said.

"We're looking forward to using these new facilities," Johnston said.

Additions include expanding a multipurpose room — used for exercise classes, educational sessions, vespers and movies — by 50 percent.

Another addition will expand the dining room. A third addition is for activity space, art studio, salon, medical clinic and human resources.

Another addition is for a new, larger entrance building, facing Mercer Avenue, in addition to a larger entrance drive from Mercer and larger parking lot.

Another part is a two-story addition to Martin Health Center, Westminster's skilled care building, which will add 24 private resident rooms to each floor.

All the additions will be done by Christmas, with the exception of the Martin Health Center addition, which will be complete in summer 2018, Fehr said.

Then, renovation of the existing Martin Health Center and Westminster common areas will begin. Martin Health Center will expand its capacity to 96 beds — 80 private rooms and eight semiprivate rooms.

Common area renovations will include the wellness center, library, dining room and kitchen, Nathan said.

"Phase One will be totally done in 2019," Nathan said.

When phase one is complete, Westminster, which has 215 employees, will add 20 employees and 18 licensed beds, Nathan said.

Westminster, which opened in 1979, includes 176 independent living apartments, 22 independent living townhouses, 52 assisted living apartments and 78 skilled care (nursing home) beds at Martin Health Center.

While 8 percent of the $33 million is coming from Westminster' reserves, most of the cost is being financed, Nathan said.

In 2019, work will begin on phase two, which will be constructing an assisted living building with 60 assisted living units and 12 memory care units.

Phase three will be renovating the existing assisted living building to 40 independent living units and possibly adding additional independent living buildings.

"The need for senior living is going to grow" and Westminster is responding, Nathan said.

Follow Paul Swiech on Twitter: @pg_swiech


Health Reporter

Health reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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