It was a classic case of preaching to the choir when Eagle County hosted a meeting Tuesday to present the Castle Peak Senior Care Community proposal.
Many of the people in the audience were the living embodiment of the demographics presenters cited to illustrate the need for a senior care facility in Eagle County. They didn't need to be convinced about the project's viability, they needed to hear when construction will start.
But that announcement is a bit further down the road. Tuesday's session had a dual purpose - to give an update about planning efforts for the center and to satisfy a public hearing requirement as the project moves through its financing and certification procedures.
Kathy Kopp of Augustana Care, the Minnesota-based firm Eagle County has partnered with to develop the Castle Peak Senior Care Community, presented some of the program highlights. The county has purchased a site at Eagle Ranch - the large tract located north of Brush Creek Elementary School and the Capitol Street/Sylvan Lake Road T-intersection - to build the care facility.
The first phase of the project will include 64 beds. That breaks down as 22-skilled nursing units, 20 assisted living units, 12 memory care units and 10 transitional care/rehabilitation units.
"The plan we have here is not overly ambitious. It really tries to work with the number we know will be coming," said Linda Venturoni, a research consultant who is working with Augustana to determine the facility's needs.
On that subject, Venturoni noted that overall population in Eagle County is expected to grow by 31 percent between 2010-20. However, the age 60-plus demographic group is expected to grow by 108 percent to a total of 11,502 residents and the age 75-plus demographic group is expected to grow by 222 percent to a total of 2,374 residents.
"These numbers appear to us very much as a call to action," said Venturoni, as a number of heads in the audience nodded. "What we have in the Castle Peak plan is a very conservative number."
The design team for the Castle Peak Senior Care Facility includes architects Gaius Nelson of Minnesota-based Nelson-Tremain Partnership and Pam Hopkins of Vail-based Snowdon Hopkins Architects. Additionally, local landscape architect Sherry Dorwood has been brought on board. During Tuesday's presentation, Nelson outlined the general design, which includes an assisted living wing and a skilled nursing wing.
"One of our goals is to make it not feel like an institution," Nelson said. He noted that the skilled nursing units are divided into 11-bedroom floors called "households."
"You might event envision it as being part of a large, 11-room house," he said.
The memory care units are located on the second floor of the building, which will include a rooftop terrace area. Nelson said that during focus group discussions of the Castle Peak Senior Care Center, participants stressed the desire for access to the outside and that theme has been an important part of the design process.
In addition to skilled nursing and assisted living beds, the proposed center includes a fitness room, large dining area, beauty salon and other amenities identified as priorities.
"I am just very impressed and I have been in a lot of facilities," said Eagle resident Mary Hoza.
While the design group hones in on its work, other issues surrounding the Castle Peak Senior Care Facility will come to the forefront.
Kopp noted that 30 days ago, the project applied for its USDA financing and is currently working with the state of Colorado regarding financing and licensing requirements. Additionally, the land use review process through the town of Eagle has begun.
Right now, the final cost of the facility has not been determined nor has the fee structure for care services. Kopp stressed that the facility is committed to providing a broad base of services for various incomes.
"We are all about how one size does not fit all. We are all about choice," she said.
She urged audience members to check out the new website at www.castlepeak.org to keep up with the project's progress.