Haven of Progress
Fort Dodge retirement community construction projects continue apace
April 6, 2012
This news release is courtesy of Messanger News.
April 6, 2012
By BRANDON L. SUMMERS, firstname.lastname@example.org, Messenger News
Construction is blazing at Friendship Haven.
At the nonprofit continual care retirement community, work on its new River Ridge Apartments building and now its Tompkins Health Center continues, with the first phase slated for completion this fall.
Visible from Kenyon Road, River Ridge Apartments has seen progress since January with a third floor, a completed basement, and internal work taking place.
"The first floor is more completed than the second or third," Mel Smith, director of plant operations, said. "Obviously, first, second and third floor are pretty much identical. A lot of things have gone on in different areas."
Inside, an air handling unit was being put into place, and showers were being set in the individual rooms.
"We've got two different floor models," Smith said. "You've got a studio and a one-bedroom. A studio doesn't have the extra bedroom. All the units have a 4-by-4 showers. We put a lot of grab bars on them for the residents to be secure. We put 4-by-4s throughout, except in the three handicap units. They'll have a bigger shower."
The apartment building will feature newly available technology.
"We used a new waterpipe system, called Aquatherm piping," Smith said. "It replaces copper. It should be state-of-the-art. It's the way to go. It's reinforced, and all molded together. It's an up-and-coming thing."
Likewise, the rooms will all feature double-hung windows.
"These are all double-hung windows," Smith said. "It'll be easy for residents to open and close the windows. It's all vinyl-clad. That's for ease of operation."
In January, work began on the three-story Tompkins Health Center, over the spot where ground was first broken for the effort in November. Precast concrete was already being placed for the third floor.
"It's going to be one of the sturdiest buildings anywhere around," Smith said.
The health center, like the apartment building, will feature new technology.
"It's going to be built out of what they call ICF, insulated concrete forms," Smith said. "There's 2 inches of Styrofoam, eight inches of concrete and 2 inches of Styrofoam. It's a very good R-value building. Obviously, it's made of cement so it's going to be a very sturdy and strong building."
More will be attached to the current structure being developed after the standing Heritage Building is gone, Smith said.
"Obviously, we'll have to have the Heritage Building abated. We got to get all the asbestos taken out, get the building torn down. And then, we'll add on the connecting link," he said. "They're shooting for a late spring of next year, early summer, to move into the health center."
In early 2014, Smith said, the administrative offices will move into the connective wing.
A point of pride for Smith is the source of their labor.
"Over 80 percent of our job's being done local," he said. "The only things that are not being done local are ones that we done have that trade for, in Fort Dodge or in the area, like sprinkler systems. Otherwise, it's all local."
Smith said he didn't expect work to proceed this quickly.
"We considered waiting on construction, thinking, you know, a typical Iowa winter might slow us down, but we're really glad we made the decision to go, because it's come along really well," he said. "We've only had a couple of snows so it hasn't slowed them down much. I think we've had two days that they went home because it was too cold."
Despite the speed, Smith said he doesn't think construction will finish any more ahead of schedule.
"We've got to order the appliances, the tubs. You've got to get everything organized to come at the right time," he said. "We're still shooting for the fall date opening."
Smith said he is so far pleased with the project.
"It's really been good," he said. "Jensen Construction's been great to work with, as have been the local subs. It's nice to have the local guys to deal with because you know them. We've been working with them for years. It's going to be a great project."
River Ridge Apartments is expected to be completed this fall, with construction on the Tompkins Health Center scheduled to be finished in 2013.
About Friendship Haven
Friendship Haven is a non-profit, continuing care retirement community in Fort Dodge, Iowa, that offers a full range of residential options, services and amenities for over 400 older adults. For more information, visit www.friendshiphaven.org.
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