|Apr 16, 2012 --
Brandon, South Dakota, with a population of about 9,000 people, has seen significant growth in the last decade, including in the senior care area. There are two assisted living communities in Brandon, but there has never been a nursing home, so people needing skilled nursing care have had to leave the community to receive the care they needed. This has put strain on both the patients and their families.
Bethany Lutheran Home for the Aged, LLC operates a nursing home in Sioux Falls, a neighboring community, and the Bethany Meadows independent and assisted living facility in Brandon. Bethany, which is owned by six area churches, proposed building a new nursing home addition on its Bethany Meadows campus in Brandon. Because the nursing home industry is highly regulated and dependent on government programs like Medicaid and Medicare, financing can be hard to come by, and financing for new construction needs to be at rates as low of a rate as possible so as not put the nursing home at a competitive disadvantage. Very few new nursing homes have been built because of these factors, leading some areas or our state, like Brandon, to be underserved.
Bethany’s board of directors decided it wanted to add a nursing home addition to its campus in Brandon and tasked its management to come up with a financing plan that would be within its budget. After talking with a variety of people in the financing industry, and hearing many positive accounts of working with USDA Rural Development, Bethany contacted the USDA Rural Development office in Sioux Falls. Rural Development was able to put together a financing package that included both direct loans and loan guarantees at rates that are more economical than the cost of issuing bonds, which had been another option Bethany was considering, making it possible for Bethany to move forward with their project.
After the Rural Development financing package was approved in January 2011, Bethany broke ground in April 2011, on the construction of a new 58-bed nursing home in Brandon. This $10 million project will help elderly people who need nursing home care to be able to stay in Brandon, closer to their families and friends. Additionally, the new nursing home will also create 50-60 new jobs in Brandon, which is very significant in a community of that size. Brandon is often thought of as a bedroom community to Sioux Falls, so adding jobs that people don’t have to leave town for is important, especially when those jobs are skilled positions like nursing and administration. The more people who live and work in Brandon, the stronger all the businesses will be in our community.
Rural Development’s support also inspired Bethany to try to keep as many aspects of the project local as possible. Instead of buying all the furniture for the resident rooms from institutional suppliers, Bethany contracted with a local woodworker to design and build all the nightstands, wardrobes and headboards, keeping all that money local. Bethany is also working with a local window covering business to design window treatments for nearly 100 windows, again, supporting a local business and helping our rural economy.