Valley View begins expansion

BELLEVILLE – Plans to expand Valley View Retirement Community are moving forward thanks to approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, said Randy Sheaffer, executive director of Valley View.

“The expansion was delayed because our initial application to move beds from Malta Home to Valley View was denied,” Sheaffer said. “But we were able to sort everything out and received approval to move forward last month.”

The project was previously scheduled to start in late 2013 and finish in 2015. Sheaffer now anticipates construction to begin in spring 2014.

The expansion involves a three-story, 39,000-square-foot addition to Valley View, housing a 21-bed Alzheimer’s wing, a 21-bed rehabilitation wing and a rehab service unit, Sheaffer said. Each room will be private with a flat screen television and wi-fi.

“The project reflects current trends in healthcare with increased care management, shorter stays and decreased rehospitalization,” Sheaffer said. “We think it’ll position us well within the healthcare reform movement.”

The expansion also includes the transferring of nursing home beds from Malta Home in Granville to Valley View in Belleville and the discontinuation of nursing home services at Malta Home.

“We began discussing possible solutions last year when it became apparent that we couldn’t operate Malta Home through the foreseeable future,” Sheaffer said. “Each year we lose hundreds of thousands of dollars due to the cost of operating a building that was built in 1921. The building system just isn’t efficient anymore.”

After looking through market studies and meeting with architects, the building committee determined that it would be more economical to expand Valley View than to completely rebuild Malta Home, Sheaffer said.

The 40 beds will be transferred sometime in 2015 as the expansion comes to a finish, Sheaffer said. Malta Home residents will then have the choice to move to Valley View or select a different nursing home.

“The residents at Malta Home are understandably concerned about moving and starting over in a new place,” Sheaffer said. “For those who are not interested in moving, we’ll assist them in finding admission to another nursing home.”

Employees from Malta Home will also transfer to Valley View with little to no job loss, Sheaffer said. In fact, the expansion is expected to increase job opportunities because of the positions needed in each specialized wing, he said.

“It really comes down to focusing on the long term,” Sheaffer said. “It seems like moving forward with the expansion is the best decision for all concerned.”

The building committee plans to use the remainder of the year to finish the concept drawing, complete the construction plan and apply for land development permits, Sheaffer said. Pending approval, the project loan will be through Juniata Valley Bank.