The next stage in completion of the new Bethesda campus was reached on Thursday, August 13th when construction crews set in place a steel beam. With the enclosure phase of the new building underway, Willmar residents will see the design of the 88,000-square-foot building come to life over the next twelve months.
The raising of the beam was part of a “Hard Hat Steel Raising Ceremony” to signify the steel phase of the building had begun and to thank the men and women who have given so generously of their time and philanthropy to the $3 million capital campaign – Investing in a Healthy Future. The enclosure phase will begin this fall and continue throughout the winter. Carla Lagerstedt, Bethesda Board Chair, greeted the invited guests with a hardy, “Hard hats off to the friends and donors who have stepped up to expand their levels of support to make this dream come true.”
“Each of us here today has had a special role in getting this center to today’s ceremony. However, as you know, there is a lot of construction to do and more funds need to be raised to reach our capital campaign goals and make sure that the new town center becomes a reality. The town center will be the heart of our new campus and will consist of a new chapel, café, gift shop and other amenities our senior’s deserve.” she continued.
When completed, these new buildings will allow Bethesda to introduce a new kind of enhanced continuing care retirement community that encourages healthy and active lifestyles – all on one campus. This includes a thriving campus encompassing senior living apartments, assisted living and memory care, a wellness center, walking path, a cafe, a chapel and other wonderful amenities.
The event was hosted under a tent, right in the middle of the construction site and included Bethesda Campaign Vice-Chairmen Larry Knutson and Dean Johnson, honorary campaign chairs, campaign cabinet, prominent business leaders, Bethesda management and staff and residents involved in the development of the new campus. Guest speakers sharing personal testimonials included Dean Johnson, Nancy Geiger, Steve Linder and Ken Behm.
“For 42 years, I’ve been visiting residents and family at Bethesda and have witnessed first hand the staff’s deep devotion to those they serve. One day, we may find ourselves or a loved one here and when this occurs, we want trained, skilled and compassionate staff.” stated Dean Johnson, campaign co-chair. “This is what Bethesda offers. Today, we are investing in the future of compassion and caring as individuals continue to live their lives at Bethesda. Thank you for your generous gifts and consideration to a wonderful project.”
When the Bethesda Board of Directors began the planning to replace Heritage Center, they looked at how they could reinvent Bethesda to better serve the community while continuing to be leaders and innovators in senior healthcare.
“My family’s care at Bethesda has spanned generations. Not everyone is as fortunate to find a place like my father did for the last ten years of his life. Being able to stay close to home and close to the amenities he enjoyed was important to him.” shared Steve Linder, guest speaker. “My family has seen Bethesda evolve over the years and understands what an important community asset it is. We are proud to support the campaign because of the wonderful services provided to our family and would encourage your consideration in joining us. My father’s last years spent at Bethesda were a joyful time for him and provided us with a lot of fond memories.”
The hard hat ceremony attendees were an example of the wonderful, visible support the people of Willmar and surrounding communities have for Bethesda. The campus redevelopment consists of three key areas that will be an asset the people of this community will be proud of.
The new Long Term Care building will house the 12 new neighborhoods of approximately 20 residents. The new $6 million Short Stay Therapy Center will have 36 beds. And connecting it all together – the heart of the campus and the heart of Bethesda will be the new “Town Center.” Bethesda’s commitment to those served extends beyond shelter. That is what sets Bethesda apart.
“Bethesda is place where you get to tell those “over and over” and “remember when” stories – the stories you barley get started and your family says they’ve already heard them.” stated Nancy Geiger, guest speaker. “No matter what our age, we love to hear and tell these “over and over” stories. In the bible study I’ve volunteered to run at Bethesda’s Assisted Living for the past 20 years, we always start with the over and overs. You cannot separate these stories from a person’s spiritual side. Bethesda offers wonderful support for all of life – the physical and spiritual.” Geiger continued, “A person doesn’t continue to volunteer for 20 years at the same place without the same warm “over and over” again welcome.”
The Town Center, which will include a new Chapel, gift shop, café, salon, cafe and other amenities, will be the hub of activity at Bethesda…. The vision is to invite residents into our senior living communities not just to live with us, but also to thrive with us.
As shared by Ken Behm, “When my mother moved into Bethesda last fall, it was only going to be for the winter. By January, she’d decided to stay because of the people, friends and excellent staff and volunteers. She loved the Sunday morning church services, which were extremely meaningful to her. Our family has given donations in memory of my mom, designated toward the chapel, because this was an important part of her and our lives.” Behm informed the assembled guests, “If you haven’t reached out to us yet, now is the time for you to extend your support – support for the new town center that will have a new Chapel, café, hair salon, gathering places, plus other important amenities that are critical to the Bethesda mission and the quality of life of residents and their families.”
There has never been a more exciting time in the history of Bethesda. When completed and with the generous support of the giving community, the new campus will be a major step toward Bethesda’s goal of creating a new kind of continuing care retirement community; one that fosters active lifestyles and community relationships.
The success of Bethesda’s Investing in a Healthy Future Campaign will allow Bethesda to complete the Town Center as described. It will mean programs central to the mission, such as spiritual care, memory care and wellness, continue into the future. It will provide the seniors in our community not only the care they need but also the amenities they deserve.
Donations can be made securely online or checks can be made out to Bethesda Foundation and mailed to 901 Willmar Ave SE, Willmar, MN 56201. For more information, contact Stefanie Ryan, Bethesda Foundation at 320-214-5600 or [email protected].