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Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014

Chapel, community room wrap up work at local care center

Friday, November 23, 2012

The final phase of a two-year construction project at Good Samaritan Society-Le Mars included this new community room and chapel. The final phase, completed in August, also included renovating the front of the building to match the new east and west additions.
Upon completion of a two-year project, Good Samaritan Society-Le Mars now offers residents a more homey place to live.

The last phase of the project, including transforming the front dining room into a community room and an activity room into a chapel, was completed in August at the center on Highway 3 east.

The first two phases of the project included turning hallways into neighborhoods, building east and west additions on the center and remodeling inside.

Good Samaritan Society-Le Mars residents Mryt Weiler, left, and Jean Nixa enjoy a new sitting area with chairs and a big screen TV in the new community room at the care center.
The neighborhood concept offers separate dining and living room spaces in each wing or neighborhood along with different community spaces throughout.

"We have tried really hard to go away from the hospital-type nursing home to what we have now, which is the neighborhood style home-like setting for people," said Karen Mousel, administrator of Good Samaritan Society-Le Mars.

The final phase of the project also included renovating the front of the care facility's building to look and feel like the new additions.

"This marks the end of the big addition and remodel project that converted our building into Christian Community of Care neighborhoods," Mousel explained.

The new chapel with an inlaid large cross at its front entrance is just inside the front doors of the care facility.

"We are so excited it's close, right by the front door, so when people walk in we hope they automatically see and feel that it is a Christian Community of Care," Mousel said.

She explained that the former, smaller chapel had to be torn down to make room for the new east and west additions.

"We were crowded in that little room (before)," said Myrt Weiler, a Good Samaritan resident. "I don't have to walk very far (now) to come here."

The new chapel also has stained glass windows, seating for residents and guests, an organ, a piano and plenty of room.

Resident Jean Nixa said she thinks the chapel's stained glass windows are "so gorgeous."

Mousel explained that the chapel is used daily for services, Bible studies and more.

The new community room, formerly the front dining room, includes space for large group activities along with a small sitting area with a couch, chairs and a big-screen TV.

"We have an area where everyone can help themselves to coffee, ice water, juice," Mousel said. "They can come in and be able to relax."

Residents and their guests can also play games on a Nintendo Wii, and coming soon, on a large-screen computer, she said.

"We also have a little children's basket full of coloring books and little toys," Mousel said.

The community room is also used by residents for large group activities, for example, a bowling tournament using the Wii, she said.

Weiler said she "never misses" an activity in the community room.

With the final phase of construction complete, staff can now focus more on how the enhancements to the care facility can add to residents' lives, Mousel said.

"We've always been so proud of the services we offer but at the same time we always do continuous quality improvement," she said.

The new additions on the east and west sides of the building, adding 11,000 square feet to the center, made space for more private rooms and two new outside courtyards.

Weiler, who used to share a room, said she likes her new private room.

"It has two windows," she said. "It's not dark."

Having a more home-like atmosphere is something Mousel and Amy Harnack, marketing development director at Good Samaritan, see as a positive for residents.

"They like the comfort of the home-like settings and the ability to visit those other areas with their loved ones and family members," Mousel said.

Harnack added that it may be easier for incoming residents to transition into the center with its more home-like environment.

"It's a little bit more comforting for them and their families as they're coming in," Harnack said. "It's similar to how they were living before."

Mousel said she hopes the new look and feel at Good Samaritan Society-Le Mars will help visitors of all ages, especially children, think of it as enjoyable place to visit.

"We hope it brings more dignity and happiness and more comfort to our residents because they can be really proud to be able to have guests come," she said.

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