SunPorch of Smith County Project on Schedule; Community’s Help Sought

The construction of SunPorch of Smith County has reached the half-way mark, with completion expected this spring.

“The project is moving right along but we still need the community’s help for the finishing touches,” said Tammy Pettijohn, SunPorch administrator. “We have had many successes with our fundraising campaign but are still shy of our goal.”

Dr. Joe Barnes is chairman of the fundraising committee, which is meeting with individuals and businesses about potential donations. So far, $1 million has been donated but another $300,000 is needed for the non-profit, long-term-care entity located south of the new Smith County Memorial Hospital (SCMH).

Donated funds are earmarked for nursing and kitchen equipment, and all furniture and fixtures.

Other funding sources have included United States Department of Agriculture loans and tax credits.
“These loans and credits have provided a majority of the funds for the $7.1 million project,” Pettijohn said. “We continue to apply for grants from local and regional foundations.”

The Srader Foundation, Hubbard Foundation and Smith County Community Foundation “have made significant contributions to this important community project,” Pettijohn noted. “We are extremely grateful to these local foundations that understand the importance of investing in long-term care in our area.”

Reservations are now being taken for the assisted-living apartments. “Anyone who is considering a move into our new apartment complex is encouraged to give us a call or stop by,” Pettijohn said. “Even though the project isn’t complete, we can answer questions and provide information about the apartments.”

The 12-unit apartment complex includes 10 one-bedroom suites; the other two have two bedrooms. Common dining and living rooms are included.
Potential donors who would like a tour of SunPorch are encouraged to contact Pettijohn by calling 785-282-6722.

In addition, Pettijohn and Julie Troy, social services/activity director and marketing coordinator, are available to make presentations to the medical community and local civic organizations.

“We will provide a project update and offer information about how to become a resident of our assisted-living community,” Pettijohn said. “We want to spread the word about SunPorch as far as we can.”

This first phase of the construction project also includes two Green House residences. The Green House model of care varies widely from traditional nursing-home care, Pettijohn said.

“Elders make decisions about their lives in a homey atmosphere with privacy and dignity,” she said. “This provides an environment where elders are happier and maintain their independence longer.”

The 10 private suites surround an open kitchen, dining area and living room. These residences will be available to the elders currently living in the SCMH long-term-care unit.

“We focus on local elders who may have been faced with moving away from family and friends,” Pettijohn commented. “The apartments and Green Houses will afford them the opportunity to remain in their home communities. This can relieve a lot of stress for local and area families.”

Phase two of the project will entail two Green Houses and 12 senior independent-living apartments; the timeline will be determined later.