Smith Village senior living community will grow in coming years, and the current space will be renovated with updated amenities.
Smith Village, 2320 W. 113th Pl., hosted a groundbreaking on Oct. 17 celebrating a three-story addition to its Johanson Wing, on the east side of the property, and officials also said that double-occupancy rooms in the wing will be converted to private suites and rooms.
The Johanson Wing provides nursing care and housing for short-term-stay rehab residents, and Kevin McGee, president and CEO of Smith Senior Living, said the new amenities will provide more privacy.
“The hospitals have all gone to private rooms, and the expectation now is you don’t share a room with a stranger,” McGee said. “So, we’re really trying to stay up with the market demand.”
According to officials, construction will begin this month and is expected to take two and a half years.
The project will cost $22.3 million, which will be raised through private-bond placements.
The new space will decrease the number of licensed beds in Johanson Wing from 100 to 78, officials said; however, it will quadruple the number of private accommodations for skilled-nursing care residents and short-term rehab residents to 66, with 12 shared rooms still available.
The addition, officials said, will be a three-story, 10,204-square-foot extension to the south that will provide therapy rooms on the first floor and dining rooms on the second and third floors.
McGee said it will modernize the 51,984-square-foot building built in 1991 that is named after the late Gary Johanson, who was executive director when Smith Village was the Washington and Jane Smith Home.
After noticing a decline in residents, McGee said, Smith Village officials commissioned a study in 2017 that included focus groups of residents, analysis of competitors and visits to rehab centers.
He said the upgrades will boost residency.
“Every time we do something at Smith Village, our census [rises],” McGee said. “Our census was dropping in skilled care, in spite of being rated 5-star by [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services].”
McGee said the project will be completed in four phases. Utility buildings currently sited where the addition will be built will be moved to the north side of the Johanson Wing.
Smith Village officials touted the U.S. News and World Report ranking of the retirement community as one of 19 skilled-nursing care providers in Chicago to achieve an overall top-performing rating for 2018-19.
However, according to Smith Village Executive Director Marti Jatis, officials “recognize Smith Village must modernize its environment for those recovering from or living with health-related conditions.”
She said the focus remains on residents.
“Numerous factors, such as using the current best practices in therapy and providing person-centered nursing care, positively enhance the lives of our residents,” she said.
Smith Village serves 300 residents, 65 or older.
Cathi Hogan, of Morgan Park, said her late parents, Mary and Phil, were residents at Smith Village. Mary was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and stayed in the Johanson Wing for four years. Phil visited her every day, then became the first depositor when Smith Village was renovated in 2008.
They both lived at Smith Village for over two years.
Hogan said the Johanson Wing provided comfort for her family.
“Smith Village continues to be a wonderful place where seniors are given the respect they deserve and a caring place that they need,” Hogan said. “And when that need becomes greater, the families are so grateful that their loved one doesn’t have to leave, but can transition to that compassionate wing of care that is the Johanson Wing.”