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Deerfield inches closer to expansion

The front entrance to The Deerfield campus will be shifted slightly to the west. Along with the added three-story structure (outlined in back) some existing space would be renovated.

The Deerfield Senior Living Community in New Richmond is ready to expand.

At Monday's regular City Council meeting, the facility's property was rezoned as a planned unit development to allow for a three-story addition to the complex. The council also gave preliminary approval to The Deerfield's development plan for the site.

The Deerfield, which opened in 1999, offers assisted living and memory care units for elderly residents. Officials hope to begin their facility upgrade this summer.

Plans call for a 61-bed skilled nursing home on the upper two floors of the addition. The new facility will replace the outdated Deerfield Gables facility which is several blocks away from the Deerfield's main campus.

"It's long awaited and a great opportunity for us," said Megan Corcoran, Deerfield Gables administrator. "Our residents and their families are very excited about it."

Pamela Belz, project developer with The Deerfield's parent company Presbyterian Homes, said the new skilled nursing facility will be split into four separate "communities" of 15 to 16 resident units each.

Under the new configuration, the nursing home will have a more homey feel and will seem less institutional than the Gables' current facility, she said. Each resident's unit will have a small kitchenette and private bathrooms.

"It will be a cozy living space," she said.

On the main floor of the new addition, The Deerfield will be creating a new "Town Center." The center will serve the entire resident population of the campus.

The space will include a cafe, library, beauty salon, gift and convenience store, dining room and chapel. Another key new addition will be a fitness center and aerobics workout room.

"The Town Center will be the backbone for the whole community," Belz said.

As work begins on the addition, some of The Deerfield's existing space (about 4,800 square feet) will be renovated as well. The main entrance for the complex will be moved and the kitchen will be shifted and improved.

When the 61,800-square-foot addition is completed over the next 12 months or so, Deerfield Administrator Jo Wrich said the complex will be able to provide a "continuum of care" for senior citizens of the community.

As residents age, they can simply move from the assisted living units to the skilled nursing units and never have to leave the campus, Wrich explained.

"It's all going to be in the same community, under the same roof," she said.

Wrich said the expanded campus will also allow The Deerfield to host more community gatherings and meetings in the future. A conference room and large group area will be open for the public to use.

"We will be inviting the community of New Richmond in," she said.

The new addition isn't the end of The Deerfield's future plans. The facility's proposed development plan includes a possible new memory care building and an independent living facility on the campus.