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Proponents of future health center at Wesley Homes Lea Hill raising money for project

The proposed health care center, far right, would  be attached by way of a sky bridge to the north end  of the west wing of Eby Lodge, along 320th St. SE. - Courtesy rendering/Insite Architects
The proposed health care center, far right, would be attached by way of a sky bridge to the north end of the west wing of Eby Lodge, along 320th St. SE.
— image credit: Courtesy rendering/Insite Architects

The Wesley Homes Lea Hill retirement community wants to grow.

But its growth spurt needs a boost.

A capital campaign is well under way to raise $2 million for a planned $6.6 million, state-of-the-art, skilled nursing and rehabilitation nursing center on the Auburn campus.

When completed, it would be the only not-for-profit, continuing-care retirement community – with independent housing, assisted living, memory care and other services – in Southeast King County, according to Wesley Hill officials.

"It really is us wanting to say, 'This Lea Hill health center is a health center for all of South King County,'" said Scott Hulet, administrator of the Wesley Homes Lea Hill campus.

The proposed 30,000-square-foot, 1½-floor care center addition is to feature a 36-private-room-and-bathroom design – offering privacy and dignity – that is Medicare/Medicaid certified and affordable, campaign officials said.

So far, the campaign has raised $1.1 million of its targeted goal and needs additional philanthropic support from nearby communities such as Kent and Covington, officials said.

Donations have come largely from individuals, but many businesses and organizations have greatly contributed, too.

By securing 30 percent of the capital expenses from private and public sources, Wesley Homes can leverage otherwise absent dollars to finance the project, officials said.

Tentative plans are to break ground late this summer, beginning a nine-month construction period that culminates with a 2015 opening. That timeline, however, is contingent on raising the remaining funds, campaign officials said.

As members of the Lea Hill Campaign Advisory Board concede, it's a challenging sales pitch. The campus may be in Auburn, but the new health center would serve seniors throughout the area.

"Most of the beds will be used by people from the surrounding communities," said Sue Singer, co-chair of the campaign advisory board. "I'm a community person. It's not about the people who live here but for the rest of us."

Board members project that at least 80 percent of those using the new health and rehab center will be from the surrounding communities, not just Lea Hill campus residents, said J. David Snow, Wesley Homes Foundation director of campaigns.

Snow said the project provides a "revolutionizing aspect", that is, offering easy access to an on-site, multi-service health center.

The purpose of the expansion is to become an exemplary, affordable center, fit for the regional senior community.

"Wesley Homes is very committed to the Puget Sound area," Snow said. "We are governed by a board of trustees, who are volunteers who meet monthly. These are people who come from key leadership roles in business, government, church and community life. We're not building something to sell it to a multi-national firm, we're building because there is the need.

"We're committed to this community, committed to staying here and committed to being a part of it."

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TO CONTRIBUTE

For donate to the capital campaign, contact Sten Crissey at 206-870-1126 or scrissey@wesleyhomes.org. To learn more about the capital campaign, visit www.wesleyhomes.org/foundation.

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