By Jesse Wood
With more than 90 percent of construction complete, the Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge in Blowing Rock is expected to open sometime in September, according to Gillian Baker, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System’s vice president of corporate communications.
Excavation of the 87,500-square-foot, 112-bed post acute care center off of U.S. 321 began in July of 2014, and by May of 2015, the project was nearly 50 percent complete. Last week, ARHC released an aerial video of the construction progress, which currently stands at 92 percent.
When asked what construction work was left to do in the facility, Baker responded in an email, “It varies … Some parts of the building are complete and are waiting on the final cleaning, while others still need paint, etc. Also, the grounds/landscaping work is still in progress.”
With construction still ongoing, a definitive grand opening date has yet to be scheduled. One week or so prior to the opening, patients currently of the ARHS’ Blowing Rock Rehabilitation and Davant Extended Care facility will move to the Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge.
ARHS plans to sell the 3.61-acre property that used to house the old Blowing Rock Hospital, currently known as the Blowing Rock Rehabilitation and Davant Extended Care. A Charlotte-based development group has proposed to demolish the hospital and clinic and build 24 condominium units.
In June, the N.C. Department of Transportation celebrated the dedication of the Reba and Grady Moretz Jr. Bridge, which is located across the street from the Edmisten Road intersection, the main access road to Appalachian Ski Mtn., which the Moretz family runs. The bridge, however, accesses the Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge.
ARHS has also worked 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. Plans call for the Middle Fork Greenway to go underneath the Reba and Grady Moretz Jr. Bridge in the future.
Last summer, Rob Hudspeth, the senior vice president for system advancement with ARHS, told High Country Press, that ARHS had raised $8,881,831 of the $11.5 million fundraising goal for the Foley Center. This figure didn’t count the $3,903,374 in infrastructure grants that were already secured and weren’t apart of the fundraising goal. Current figures weren’t immediately available.
Dennis and Diane Foley donated a total of $3.75 million to the project. Whenever a community-needs assessment came back that the Blowing Rock Rehabilitation and Davant Extended Care Center should be replaced with a modern post-acute care center, the Foley’s were eager to contribute.
“We have roots here. Our children and grandchildren live in the area. To have been able to avail ourselves of such wonderful care, and be in an area that we enjoy so much, is priceless,” the Foleys said when their gift was announced last June.
The project includes a primary care clinic on site, and Chestnut Ridge will provide memory support, palliative care and rehabilitation services. 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
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