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$15M renovation to start at Masonic campus


The Springfield Masonic Community will break ground on a $15 million renovation and expansion this month, creating 65 new apartments to serve an aging population.

The growing population of seniors and evolving demands from customers are some of the factors driving the expansion, according to project leaders. A report from the Ohio Department of Aging shows the number of Ohioans older than 60 is expected to increase by 30 percent by 2020 and 50 percent by 2040.

The project will include a full renovation of the historic Hillman Building on the Masonic campus, as well as the demolition of two rarely used wings attached to the Rickly Building. The 80,000-square-foot renovation will also create 65 new studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, and an on-site physician’s clinic and wellness center.

Because the two wings will be torn down, the total number of apartments won’t increase significantly, said Jay Dettorre, chief operating officer at the Ohio Masonic Home.

But it will allow the Masonic Home to offer better technology and amenities to residents that aren’t always available now. That includes more private rooms, and in-room offerings such as washers and dryers and other appliances.

The renovation will also redirect driving and walking paths to make the 250-acre campus more user- friendly for visitors and residents.

The campus was in need of an upgrade, Dettorre said.

“It’s been more than 12 years since we’ve had something like this happen,” he said.

The Springfield Masonic Community provides a range of services, including skilled nursing, rehabilitation, post-acute care and extended-care services. It also offers apartments and assisted living options.

The renovation is not expected to have a significant impact on jobs at the Springfield Masonic Community.

The Springfield facility employs about 340 staff members and has a total of more than 400 residents and patients. Statewide, it employs more than 750 workers and has a total of more than 900 residents and patients.

Competition in the senior living industry is increasing as the population ages, said Bryan Bucklew, president of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association. Hospitals are also increasingly looking to offer more private rooms for patients, in part because of meeting consumer demand. But the practice also can help reduce readmission rates in hospitals and decrease the likelihood of spreading an infection.

The investment is a good sign for the city, Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland said.

New employers tend to get the most attention, but Copeland said it’s just as important to pay attention to companies that are already here and help them grow if possible.

As baby boomers continue to age, more residents are looking for housing that meets their needs.

“Most of the economic development we’ve had in the last year has been an an expansion of already existing companies,” Copeland said.

A ground-breaking ceremony is scheduled for noon Sunday, but the majority of the work will likely begin in June. The project is expected to take about 18 months to complete.

“There’s a lot of pride in what’s going to be happening here,” Dettorre said.

The project is part of a long-term plan to improve the campus, he said.

Senior living services have traditionally followed a model similar to a hospital environment in which residents have less privacy and control over their living arrangements, said David Cooke, principal at the Design Collective. The Columbus firm has worked in Springfield on projects for the Turner Foundation and at Wittenberg University.

One of the goals of the renovation is to allow residents to have more freedom and amenities, while making sure access to care is readily available.

An aging population isn’t the only factor driving the long-term improvements at the Masonic Home, Cooke said, but it does play a role.

“The market will be choosing environments where they have the option to remain more active and have more socialization and participate in life longer with more dignity, and those are all things that are driving the master planning at the Masonic Community,” Cooke said.



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