By Beth Dodd:
The new Forest Ridge skilled nursing facility broke ground next to the Pikes Peak Regional Hospital on September 5. When finished in fall 2015 it will include 80 private rooms. The facility will provide post-hospital recovery, secure memory care, and long-term care. Spacious rooms, colorful community and dining areas, and big windows with scenic views will provide a welcoming atmosphere.
Woodland Park is becoming a popular retirement destination for baby boomers. It has been predicted that the population of residents over age 65 in Teller County will increase by 157 percent over the next 20 years, so Forest Ridge is expected to meet a growing need within the community. The facility will be easily accessible for families in Teller, Park, or El Paso Counties.
Developer Bob Schleicher of Mid States Senior Living has been working on this project behind the scenes for almost four years, and was excited to see construction begin at last. Although talks started back in April 2010, it was not until early 2013 that a partnership was formed between Schleicher and Horace Winchester and Jerry Williamson of OnPointe Health. OnPointe Health, a privately-owned company, will manage the facility when it is completed. Apparently, it is unusual for a care center of this kind to be built in a small town. The project has been viewed as a great boon for the community and Schleicher has received wide-spread praise for putting it together.
The two-story Forest Ridge building has been purposefully designed to counteract the sterile institutional feeling associated with traditional nursing homes. The view from the building down the valley is one of the most scenic in Woodland Park. A two-story atrium will open to the outdoors to embrace the view and allow sunlight to bathe the interior. The earth tones used in the multi-purpose lobby are rich and warm and will make it a good spot for gatherings of residents and their visitors. The landscaping will merge with the native, drought-resistant plantings at the Pikes Peak Regional Hospital.
A two-story design was chosen to reduce staff response times and avoid long cavernous hallways. Noise reduction for resident peace was also taken into account as fewer rooms will share a common hallway. Because of the large size of the private rooms, some physical therapy can be provided in the comfort of the resident’s room. The main physical therapy area is located on the second floor, overlooking the hospital campus. Forest Ridge will make extensive use of shared services and personnel with the hospital, which is right next door.
In addition to the peaceful ambiance and quality health care, the practical needs of residents are being kept in mind. A hair salon, massages, transportation, itemized nutritional dining, and concierge services are some of the amenities that will be offered. Several meeting rooms will be available for education and training for staff as well as for the use of residents and their families.
Forest Ridge will also bring new health care jobs to Teller County. The nursing home is expected to employ 85 to 100 full-time and part-time employees. However, the development is being done by companies outside the area. The project is being financed by Sunflower Bank of Salina, Kansas, and was designed by Architectural Nexus of Salt Lake City, Utah. Golden Triangle Construction of Colorado Springs is doing the construction. “A few local investors” to provide needed capital and a “local community bank” which provided the construction and operating funds were not named on the Forest Ridge web site.