Members of the Good Samaritan Society were back in Fairfield Glade Thursday. It was their first visit since November when they held focus group meetings and performed some of the due diligence work required for a proposed assisted living and skilled nursing facility in the Glade. This time, they met with some 60 residents in an effort to further refine what the needs of the community are and to hold a evening town hall meeting to answer questions for residents.

The sanctuary of the Fairfield Glade United Methodist Church was about two-thirds full when the meeting came to order. Tom Nelson, of the Society, made the introductions of other Society representatives and those from the architectural firm, SFCS, which has been hired to draw up the plans.

Basically, Nelson held to the Society's theory, "It's not about dying, it's about living. That's the way we see it," he said.

Architect Drew Kepley explained, as he flipped through a slide show, that the Society and the architectural firm strive to match the facilities to the vernacular of the community they will serve. For instance, a facility in Virginia was rich with red brick and white columns, in the prevailing Georgian style of the area. In Colorado, a stucco facade seemed to blend into a gray-green hillside.

Several styles of interiors will be available, ranging from large living quarters to more modest sizes, which will appeal to a wider range of budgets. There are also plans for a spacious sitting area, open and private dining facilities, game room and café for the convenience of residents.

The initial facility in Fairfield Glade is planned to have 40 senior housing apartments (24 assisted living units), as many cottages as the site will accommodate, and, if the state issues the required certificate of need, a 30-bed skilled care nursing center. The facility will sit on 23 acres of land off Catoosa Blvd., which was donated by Wyndham Resorts to the project. The Society is currently deciding whether they should put an option on some additional adjoining acreage. They are also fortunate that utilities are already onsite.

Saying that after some presentations they've often received the question, "When can we start moving in," Greg Amble, director of project development for the Society, presented an approximate timeline for the project:

November 2006 — Due diligence and focus group meetings.

February 2007 — Continued due diligence and gathering information. Retained the architectural firm.

May 2007 — Smaller focus groups and town hall meeting.

June 2007 — Foundation members will come to Fairfield Glade to plan giving possibilities. (The donation of the land has kept "giving" from being a factor in the final decision to move forward or not.)

August 2007 — The project will be presented to decision makers at Good Samaritans. Amble stated his group will recommend moving forward, and he hopes it will be approved. (Good Samaritans self-finances their projects.)

A construction contractor could be hired.

Necessary documents will be completed.

May 2008 — Start construction. Expect construction to take 12-16 months.

September 2009 — Open the facility.

During the question and answer period, Nelson was quite clear the project will not try to duplicate services currently offered by the CMC Wellness Complex. Instead, they hope to offer transportation to the Wellness Complex.

Cost on units will run approximately $2,000/person monthly (adjusted for the size of the unit); however, a couple will not be charged double for electricity and other fees on the same unit. The monthly fee would cover everything except telephone and Internet service bills. Costs are seeing an annual inflation rate of about three percent currently, which is passed along to the residents.

The Good Samaritan Society retains ownership of the property. Residents basically rent the units. There are options such as "buy-in," but those are only to lower the cost of the monthly rent payment.

Marketing normally begins during the construction phase. This timing allows the Society to understand the demand they will have for the units and if they should move along to phase II.

There was a sign-up sheet to receive mailings from the Society in the hallway of the church Thursday night. As it turns out, signing up was very important if you want to be first to sign up for a unit. Mailings will go out when the Society is ready to offer the units for rent.

Nelson also stated that at all of their locations, there is an advisory board made up from the community to help with needs of that particular location.

There were several questions regarding care of dementia patients. Nelson explained that most dementia patients are not physically ill, requiring skilled nursing. Most are cared for in the assisted living area.

In compliance with the Fair Housing Act, the facility will be open to everyone who wants to make an application to live there.

In order to meet the needs that people have, the facility is flexible regarding whether the big meal of the day is lunch or dinner. Nelson pointed out that the community meal is an important part of the day for many due to the fellowship it offers.

The facility is also keenly aware of the need to have outside activities available and works with each community on that option.

"We want to accommodate the needs people have," said Nelson.