St. Mark’s expansion on target

Published 9:27 am Friday, July 20, 2012

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A $13.4 million remodel and expansion project at St. Mark’s Lutheran Home and Apartments of Austin is on track to be finished early next year.

“Progress is going well,” said Christopher Schulz, executive director at St. Mark’s.

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The rehabilitation, assisted living and nursing care facility’s $13.4 million project broke ground at the end of January. Now it’s on schedule to be completed in February or March of 2013, Schulz said. Right now, crews are working on the new assisted living complex and the rehab care unit.

“They’ve got walls up, the roof on and some siding on,” he said. “Probably by mid-August, it should all be sheetrocked on the inside.”

Apart from those new developments, St. Mark’s also has more interior remodeling to complete.

“Our current assisted living is turning into memory care assisted living,” Schulz said.

St. Mark’s has never had an assisted living area devoted to memory care.

Despite all the changes going on, Schulz said residents at St. Mark’s have not been bothered by construction. The work going on in the expansion is all taking place outside, away from residents. And the remodeling is closed off from the rest of the building to reduce noise and other distractions.

But that doesn’t mean residents aren’t keeping tabs on the project.

“Quite a few of them watch the construction daily,” Schulz said, adding that they’re as excited about the project as everyone else.

Talk of the expansion and remodeling started about five years ago, he said. It took a while to line up funding and get the project started.

The month of July next year will mark the 50 year anniversary of St. Mark’s. Though they are a couple of months apart, Schulz said, he hopes to combine an open house for the the new expansion with an anniversary celebration.

The redevelopment includes:

•Relocating 25 assisted living apartments to newly constructed space

•Renovating 20 apartments for new memory care assisted living

•Replacing 16 long term care rooms with a new wing for short-term rehabilitation services

•Remodeling the remaining 45 long term care rooms

•Creating a new occupational and physical therapy area, a multi-purpose gathering room, chapel and living area, all near the new front entrance to the campus on Fourth Street

•Relocating and enhancing the beauty shop and café area.

—Adam Harringa contributed to this report.