Wellness center project making progress

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The new Huron County Senior Wellness Center will be located behind and attached to the Huron County Senior Center, on Nugent Road, in Bad Axe. (View File Photo)The new Huron County Senior Wellness Center will be located behind and attached to the Huron County Senior Center, on Nugent Road, in Bad Axe. (View File Photo)

The new Huron County Senior Wellness Center will be located behind and attached to the Huron County Senior Center, on Nugent Road, in Bad Axe. (View File Photo)

BAD AXE – After approving a ground lease in October of last year for a new wellness center in Bad Axe, progress has continued to be made on the project.

The agreement is between Huron County and Bay City-based Region VII Area Agency on Aging (R7AAA) for the construction of a PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) wellness center.

Project manager from Region VII, Candice Becker, was on hand at the recent commissioners meeting to present a small change in the overall schematic design for the wellness center, which was approved by commissioners.

“The previously approved site plan – there are two buildings separated with a hallway connecting them in the very back,” said Becker. “This new site plan is not to connect the buildings on the west side, and connect the actual walls.”

Becker said they are seeking approval of the new plan in order to continue with the site plans and advance to the next phase of the project.

The center, to be officially called the Huron County Senior Wellness Center, will be located behind the Huron County Senior Center, on Nugent Road in Bad Axe – and it has been a long time coming.

Back in Jan. 2020, commissioners voted to pledge $750,000 for the project. Becker said Region VII has also received a $1 million grant from the state to help funding.

The roughly 8,000-square foot wellness center will feature an adult day center, clinic, program meal staging and dining, rehabilitation and physical therapy area, and administrative space.

Becker said an exact cost of the project has yet to be set, as officials continue to gather proposals.

“We still have those grants to use, but it all depends on what our final square footage is and stuff like that,” she said.

However, Becker did say the change in schematics could potentially reduce the center’s overall cost, according to officials from project contractor FED Design/Builders out of Gladwin and C2AE Architecture/ Engineering.

She said the change is to eliminate the longer hallway between the two spaces and just attach them together.

Officials are still in the schematic design phase of the project.

“That’s why I had to get the approval to attach our building to the existing senior center,” Becker said.

Currently, Region 7 has a PACE center in Fort Gratiot, which services Huron, Sanilac, Tuscola and St. Clair counties.

The PACE program helps senior citizens stay in their own homes rather than a facility. It features doctors and dentists making house calls as well as offering adult day care services.

Becker has explained at a previous commissioners meeting, through the program at the Huron County Senior Wellness Center, around 120 individuals will be served, with around 50 individuals working at the center. To qualify, an individual must be over 55 years of age and be eligible for nursing home level of care.

In addition to the schematic change, Becker said they are still looking for commissioners to appoint someone from the county to the design committee, who will work with others in conjunction with the architect of the project on the overall look and design of the center.

She said this will be crucial when the project progresses to the outside of the buildings.

“Because the senior center is an old-school brick (building), we are going to want the input on what our building is going to look like,” Becker said.

As for a timeline on groundbreaking for the project, Becker said that is still to be determined.

“That’s kind of up in the air,” she said. “I know that we are a little bit behind schedule. We were hoping for October, but it is probably possible it’s not going to start until November.”


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