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Construction of The Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge Moving Ahead of Schedule

An aerial shot of the construction of The Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge.
An aerial shot of the construction of The Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge.

By Jesse Wood

Earlier this week, the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce received an update on how the construction of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System’s (ARHS) new post acute care center off of U.S. 321 is progressing.

Speaking on Friday afternoon, Rob Hudspeth, the Senior Vice President for System Advancement with ARHS, reiterated his presentation to High Country Press.

For one, the name of the facility was unveiled. It will be called The Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge. Dennis and Diane Foley donated a total of $3.5 million to the project.

So far, $8,881,831 of the $11.5 million fundraising goal has been met. This doesn’t count the $3,903,374 in infrastructure grants that have already been secured and aren’t apart of the fundraising goal.

The ceremonial groundbreaking on the beautiful meadow occurred on June 24, 2014. Crews started moving dirt in July and digging footers in August. Now, they are almost ready to put the roof on top of the entire 87,000-square-foot facility, which is located on the 68-acres property.

Hudspeth noted that the construction progress has been a “tremendous success,” according to a slideshow presentation shown to the Blowing Rock Chamber.

Construction is 47 percent complete and ahead of schedule due to cooperating weather during the winter months. As of right now, an estimated completion date is set for March 2016, although the center won’t be up and running until a few months later, possibly June, because of inspections, staffing, interior décor and other factors.

ARHS has been working with the Town of Blowing Rock, the N.C. Department of Transportation and the Middle Fork Greenway Association to provide access for the Middle Fork Greenway to run through the ARHS-owned property. Hudspeth said that the “NCDOT has been terrific in making sure that the construction of the new access bridge” across from the street of Edmisten Road can accommodate the Middle Fork Greenway going under the bridge – as opposed to across the bridge.

The Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge, Hudspeth said, will serve the entire High Country population – not just residents of Blowing Rock.

Also, ARHS tweaked the original plans to include the incorporation of a primary care clinic on site. In addition, Chestnut Ridge will provide memory support, palliative care and rehabilitation services.

A post-acute care facility basically cares for patients after hospitalization. For example, that could be helping a person rehabilitate their shoulder after surgery. In addition to outpatient and inpatient rehab, other care options include long-term care, skilled nursing and home health – depending on the severity of illness or injury.

According to an ARHS whitepaper document, the primary goals for Chestnut Ridge are to create an “integrated and interdisciplinary care-management model” that will:

  • Reduce Patient Readmissions to the Hospital
  • Reduce Patient Lengths of Stay
  • Increase Discharges to Home
  • Ensure Functional Improvement Gains for Patients
  • Improve Quality Indicators
  • Improve Patient Satisfaction

In all, Hudspeth said, “The new facility is really an important piece of care continuum here, in terms of providing better quality healthcare and reducing costs for patients.”

Another view of the construction of The Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge.
An artistic rendering of what the center should look like when all is said and done.