Castle Peak Senior Care Community celebrates groundbreaking in Eagle | VailDaily.com

Castle Peak Senior Care Community celebrates groundbreaking in Eagle

Gary Wilkerson, chairman of the board of Augustana Care, speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Castle Peak Senior Care Center in Eagle on Thursday. Augustana Care, serving seniors in Colorado and Minnesota, will operate the campus.

With a ceremonial dig, Eagle County became a more complete community Thursday with the groundbreaking ceremony for the Castle Peak Senior Care Community project.

"This is a real transformational project for Eagle County," said Merv Lapin, chairman for the Castle Peak Care Community Capital Campaign Committee. "Taking care of our seniors, ourselves, is very important."

The Castle Peak Senior Care Community is a 64-bed skilled nursing and assisted living senior care facility proposed in Eagle at a 5-acre site owned by Eagle County, immediately north of Brush Creek Elementary School in the Eagle Ranch neighborhood. Augustana Care, a Minnesota-based nonprofit organization that owns and manages 23 senior care projects, is partnering with Eagle County to build the project. Once the facility is built, Augustana will be the care center manager.

The Weitz Co., headquartered in Denver, has been selected to manage construction for the Castle Peak Senior Care Community and Alpine Bank is the construction lender. Project site work began earlier this summer and the center is slated to open in 2016.

"We believe in about a year, we will have residents and staff here," said Gary Wilkerson of Augustana Care during his remarks on Thursday.

The estimated $25 million, 62,000-square-foot project will include 22 skilled nursing beds, 20 assisted living apartments, 12 memory care beds and 10 transitional care units. During his remarks, Lapin noted the construction budget has swelled a bit and commended the parties involved in the effort for increasing their financial commitments.

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Lapin cited a $12.5-million United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development loan for providing financing for the project together with a $1.7-million commitment from Augustana and the county's $5 million contribution, which includes the land where the center will be located. Lapin commended that the communities of Vail, Avon, Minturn and Gypsum, which contributed $200,000 each, and the town of Eagle, which contributed $600,000 in cash, fees and in-kind services. Finally a capital campaign launched last year generated in excess of $4.4 million in private and business donations. Lapin said $350,000 still must be raised from local donors. He commended all the donors for "collectively doing the right thing."

Thanking the people who have stepped up to help plan and fund the project was the central theme of Thursday's groundbreaking.

"There's been a dogged group of people who over the past 25 years worked steadfastly to make this project happen," said Eagle County Commissioner Kathy Chandler-Henry on Thursday'.

"It is a spectacular to see this happening," said Anne McKibbin, Eagle mayor pro tem.