Left, Salem Foundation Board Chair Arlen Hildebrand, Derek Thiessen of WBS Construction and Salem Home Board Chair James Peters turn the sod. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)
The sod turning for the new Cottonwood Dining Room at Salem Home was held May 11, in a long awaited and important project.
Salem Board Chair James Peters said the need for this new 1,100 square foot space has been apparent for some time.
“Since 2010, this much needed project, an additional dining room for the Cottonwood residents, has patiently waited its turn, while a new dining room for Maple North residents and a new front entrance were built,” he said.
A measurement tool that records the actual lived experience of residents had identified the need for a new quieter dining space.
Peters thanked the business community for backing the estimated $325,000 project.
“It is a day that demonstrates the commitment and selfless giving of corporate community members to benefit the many,” he said.
Peters shared a snapshot of mobility needs of Cottonwood residents.
97 per cent of residents living on Cottonwood use one type or another of ambulatory aide. Of the 50 residents, 49 use a combined 61 mobility and ambulation devices such as wheelchairs, walkers and motorized wheelchairs.
Only one resident does not use any mobility device.
“There are up to eight power wheelchairs in the dining room,” he said. “44 per cent of the ambulation devices are the type that take up more space. Wheelchairs today are larger in length and width than they were when the dining room was constructed in 1994.”
Peters said current dining rooms such as Cotina’s are simply too congested, too noisy and over stimulating.
“This doesn’t take into consideration noise of other people, staff with equipment, laundry carts passing by in the hallway, in addition to phones ringing at the nurses station,” he said.
The new dining room will decrease the noise level at meal times and in general. It will also give more space for Susie Q carts to move around so residents can see and smell the food before making their choices.
Peters said it will also make getting out of the dining room much easier for independent residents, and allow residents to explore difference activities such as puzzles, because they can be kept out instead of cleaned up for meal time.
“The 1,100 square foot Cottonwood Dining Room will give up to 24 of the Cottonwood residents the benefit of a quieter area as they enjoy the new dining room,” he said.
The room will also feature large windows on two sides of the room.
Salem Foundation Board Chair Arlen Hildebrand said the support for the project was fantastic.
“It was only five short months ago that we announced this project,” he said. “Less than three months later we had 66 per cent of the project funded and as of today 94 per cent of the project has been covered.”
Hildebrand thanked WBS Construction, and the gifts of BF Industries, Inground Construction, Ironmen Industries and anonymous donors for their help.
“It is our hope to have the remaining $18,000 raised prior to the residents enjoying the new dining area in August,” he said. “Anyone wishing to contribute and help complete the project can contact any of the Salem Foundation Board Members or Nancy Wiebe at the Foundation Office.”
Derek Thiessen of WBS Construction spoke on behalf of all donors. “This is an important project, not only for Salem Home and its residents but for this community too,” he said. “Sharing meals together is important in creating and sustaining a sense of shared community.”