The Apple Valley City Council on Thursday approved a site plan, building permit and zoning amendments for new buildings planned for the Augustana Health Care Center campus, the first of which will be a 40-unit transitional care facility to provides temporary residence for those recovering from, for example, a surgery.
The other new facilities planned include a building with 64 units of assisted living and 32 units for dementia care, a 37-unit senior apartment building and a 124-unit independent living building with a wellness center. Projects are slated to be done within a 10-year span.
"We’re very excited about it," said Dave Shaw, the administrator for Augustana's Apple Valley campus. "It’s important to us that we do it very well."
Augustana board member Don Jacobson told the Apple Valley Planning Commission in February that the expansion would provide the comprehensive services senior citizens are looking for.
“It’s more than a technical assignment, I can assure you, because seniors are beginning to read better the quality of services that are coming to them,” Jacobson said in February.
Augustana has been planning the project since fall 2008, Shaw said on Thursday. Construction on the transitional care facility could begin in September.
The project also will include creating a new entrance to the property, likely off 147th Street at the Garrett Avenue/147th intersection, as well as two other driveways off Garrett, according to the project summary.
Augustana already has 208 senior apartments and a 200-unit long-term nursing home care center on the site, which is at 14650 Garrett Ave. The new buildings will expand onto the six adjacent acres of land Augustana bought in December, which extends the property south to 147th.
A rezoning of the property will allow the new buildings to take up 28 percent of the property, rather than allowing a maximum 20 percent coverage.
At the May 18 Apple Valley Planning Commission meeting, two Apple Valley residents expressed concerns about the projects. Dan Zimmerman, a parent of students at Paideia Academy, which is across the street from the site, asked whether the buildings would take away the green space Augustana has allowed students from Paideia Academy to use.
Zimmerman also said on May 18 that he was concerned about increased traffic on 147th, where his children cross the street to get to and from school; he suggested some type of crossing light for the location, which City Planner Tom Lovelace said the city's traffic and public works departments could explore.
Zimmerman and Paideia staff member Tiffany Field both said a letter they had received about the project, sent to Apple Valley residents who live near the Augustana campus, seemed deceiving, as it mentioned only the transitional care facility and not the other buildings planned for the Augustana campus.
Shaw said at the May 18 meeting that Augustana wants to be transparent and would work with residents to address concerns.