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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of December 11 - 17, 2002


Blaine Manor sets sights on expansion

Express Staff Writer

As the result of a local landowner’s generosity, Blaine Manor officials hope to build a new, larger facility at a new location near Hailey by 2004.

The county-owned nursing home announced Tuesday that it is negotiating the purchase of a parcel of land, of at least 10 acres, at a below-market price. Acquisition of the land is the first step in constructing a 95-bed facility, which, it is hoped, will finally make Blaine Manor profitable.

Faus Geiger Corlett, the home’s director of development, said the name of the parcel’s owner and its location will remain secret until the deal is finalized. However, she said the owner is a man with long-time connections to the Wood River Valley and the land is within a convenient distance of Hailey.

Geiger Corlett said the purchase is on hold pending completion of an appraisal, which is expected to take a few weeks.

Officials will then begin a campaign to raise part of the approximately $15 million needed to build the new facility.

In the three years since its independence from the former Wood River Medical Center, Blaine Manor has struggled to remain solvent. It received a taxpayer-funded subsidy of $340,000 from the county last fiscal year, and is expected to require about $400,000 this year.

A study done last spring by consultant AMDC, based in Milwaukee, Wis., concluded the facility would never be profitable at its current size of 25 beds. However, the study determined that Blaine County’s aging population should support a larger facility with services ranging from apartments for elderly people who can live independently to that of a full-service nursing home.

"The very people who’ve helped make our valley such a special place to live must be allowed to live out their days here, in comfort and in peace, getting the care they deserve, rather than being relocated to an unfamiliar nursing home that’s very far from home, with very few visitors," Blaine Manor stated in a press release.

A new location is needed since the current site at the south end of Hailey’s Main Street is too small to allow much expansion. Geiger Corlett said a new facility will also probably take on a new name, possibly including that of the generous landowner.

She said negotiations with that person have been under way since summer.

"He’s agreed that we’re going to be able to purchase a portion of his land at a very attractive, below-market price," she said. "It allows us to approach the project with a much better land budget."

Geiger Corlett said methods of financing a new facility have not been determined. She said the next step will be to go back to AMDC for help in developing a building design, budget and financing plan. Eventually, she said, Blaine Manor officials will probably seek advice from the Idaho Health Facilities Authority, which issues tax-exempt revenue bonds. Such bonds are repaid by profits generated by the facility to which they are issued, not by taxpayers.

Geiger Corlett said that before that occurs, Blaine Manor will try to raise a few big donations as "seed money" from local supporters.

"We need a certain amount of money to have the nerve to go forward," she said.

The new facility would probably be comprised of 15 independent living units, 40 assisted living units and 40 nursing suites. It would also have a common room, game room, exercise physiotherapy room, dining hall, visiting doctors’ offices and gardens.

Geiger Corlett said officials hope to buy a big enough parcel and raise enough money to also include construction of some affordable housing for employees.


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