Funds needed to save Pendleton Manor

FRANKLIN – After 37 years of providing long term care and service to the community, Pendleton Manor is in danger of closing if structural repairs and renovations aren’t undertaken, according to County Commissioner Gene McConnell, who serves on a $3 million fundraising committee.

A Virginia engineering firm’s structural analysis of a section of the original building concluded that the brick face wall is separating from the concrete block base, both of which are load-bearing. The steel ties that connect the two are corroding and disintegrating. This loss of support is leading to structural instability causing bulges and holes in the brick face wall, McConnell said.

“If nothing is done and the building becomes unsafe, the state will close the facility,” McConnell said.

“In addition to the structural issues, there are updated building and contemporary care standards that will be required once any modernization program is undertaken,” McConnell added.

Pendleton Manor, Inc. opened in Dec. 1975 as a community owned 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. It is governed by an uncompensated board of directors comprised of Pendleton citizens committed to the concept of ensuring senior citizens receive professional care while remaining close to home and family, McConnell said.

Managed by the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, a non-profit organization headquartered in Sioux Falls, S.D., the home is licensed to care for 91 residents and employs 145 full- and part-time staff members with an annual payroll of $3.5 million.

In addition to long-term care, the facility offers additional services of home health care; physical, speech and occupational therapy; health fairs; and cottages offered to clients by a purchase/buyback agreement.

The board of directors has appointed a capital campaign steering committee to raise $3 million to alleviate the structural problems and upgrade the facility. Members include Dr. and Mrs. H. Luke Eye, Don Harris, Mr. and Mrs. Lynn Vandevander, Carrie Schultz, Colleen Plaugher, Larry Thomas, Paula Mitchell, Carolyn Simmons and Manor Administrator David O’Boyle.

Today’s care requires more equipment and technical support than the current building is equipped to handle. Bathrooms are too small to accommodate lifts used to reduce staff injuries, rooms are too small for larger beds needed for proper care, Resource Development coordinator Carolyn Simmons said.

“Old plumbing and electrical wiring can start causing problems. Also years ago, people lived altogether differently in family situations with limited space. Now everybody wants their own space, if possible,” Simmons noted.

If only the brick was fixed, the building still would have to come up to specifications, such as wind-bearing load standards that have changed in the past 37 years.

“These things have been grandfathered in until we open the walls. So when we open the walls we should remodel to provide care that feels more like home and allows staff to do their work more effectively and efficiently,” Simmons said.

Pendleton Manor received a 2013 Safety and Health Recognition Achievement status by the state Division of Labor Safety, OSHA Division as being a model for worksite safety and health.

The fundraising project will be in three sequential stages to ensure minimal upset to the current residents. The first $1 million will remodel the 200 wing including a bathing spa, rooms configured to provide more privacy and functional space, an updated nurses’ station and a central supply area.

The second $1 million will do the same for the 100 wing and include a living room to socialize with family and friends, a staff break room and storage space for resident care equipment. The third $1 million will provide renovation for an updated memory care unit for residents with cognitive and memory problems.

Pendleton Manor is a 100-percent community-owned facility with no financial assistance available from the government or any other entity. Since 90 percent of the revenue is derived from Medicare and Medicaid, with an uncertain regulatory future, the board has decided that “going into debt is not an option,” McConnell said.

Pendleton Manor is a community asset providing an essential existing need, officials said.

“Will the community step forward once again and act to preserve this vital component of Pendleton’s infrastructure or will Pendleton Manor simply become another name on a list of businesses that ‘used’ to be here?” McConnell asked.