Sheldon, Iowa — Village Northwest Unlimited has announced plans to build two new residential homes on their campus in Sheldon to begin this summer. At its board of directors meeting on Thursday afternoon, May 22nd, the board awarded the contract to J&J Construction of Hull, Iowa to build the two homes. Work on the new homes will begin this summer and the homes will be completed in the spring or summer of 2015. The new homes will be licensed by the State of Iowa as Intermediate Care Facility (ICF/ID) homes for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
On April 12, the Sheldon City Fire Department did a controlled burn of two homes razed to make space for the new homes to be constructed. The current homes are 12-person homes and were built almost 40 years ago and have reached the end of their useful life. Barry Whitsell, President and CEO commented, “As we looked at how to right-size the homes and make them into 6-person homes it became obvious to us that the current homes were less than efficient for the delivery of quality care into the future. “The new homes will have 6 bedrooms, and a half bath for each individual living in the home. In addition, the homes are being designed specifically to serve the needs of people with physical disabilities. The doors and the hallways are designed to be wide enough to accommodate people in a wheelchair. Each of the bedrooms, bathrooms and the bathing area will be equipped with lift systems so that residents can be safely transferred and staff lifting will be minimized. The home will have an open floor plan so residents can move freely around the home. To accommodate the medical needs of the people served, the home will be staffed with a registered nurse and each home will have a medication administration area. Each home will be approximately 5,000 square feet. “Each of the new homes being built will only enhance the Village’s ability to deliver on its mission of providing Purpose, Privacy and Dignity to the people it serves,” Village leadership noted.
These first two homes being constructed are part of a multi-year project to reduce the size of the current homes on campus from serving 12 individuals per home to 6 individuals per home. Experience and industry trends have shown that smaller, more intimate homes provide for better outcomes, less behaviors and more individualized care. Village leadership has identified and outlined a plan that will, over time, convert the existing homes to the smaller environment being built in this project. Given that each of the homes being converted has 12 people being served and the new homes will have 6 people there is a need to build two homes at a time. Each of the homes being built must meet strict requirements for licensing and adhere to fire safety codes. The homes were designed by a committee made up of staff from the Village who worked with architects Cannon, Moss, Brygger and Associates from Sioux City. Whitsell noted, “The new homes will not only meet the needs of the individuals served, but also the requirements and regulations set for homes with individuals requiring ICF level of care.”