BANGOR, Maine — Construction is under way on a new Sylvia Ross Home that, among other things, will nearly triple the home’s assisted living accommodations for area seniors, Eastern Maine Healthcare officials said Monday.
The move from the 13-room home’s current location — the former residence of benefactor Sylvia Ross at 44 Ohio St. — to the new $5.9 million 41-room facility being built on the Ross Manor campus near the intersection of Broadway and Husson Avenue, will take place next June, said Suzanne Spruce, EMH spokeswoman, and Lisa Harvey-McPherson, EMH’s vice president of continuum of care, Monday.
The EMH officials said the move also would offer Sylvia Ross Home residents access to home-cooked meals, housekeeping, laundry and transportation services, and assistance with daily living.
Also available on the campus will be facilities that provide nursing, residential and Alzheimer’s care, Spruce said.
According to Harvey-McPherson, the decision to build the new assisted living facility was driven by the fact that the current home, despite recent renovations to address handicapped accessibility and fire safety issues, still fell short of its mission to meet the needs of its residents.
Though EMH has explored a range of renovation options over the years, those options proved cost-prohibitive and were limited by the structure itself, Spruce said.
After exploring several options, EMH concluded that the best, most affordable option was to move the residents of Sylvia Ross Home to a new building on the campus of Ross Manor, a joint venture of Rosscare and First Atlantic Corp., Spruce said.
Once the new Sylvia Ross Home is up and running, the home on Ohio Street will be converted to housing for more than a dozen medical students doing clinical rotations at Eastern Maine Medical Center, Spruce said.
That, Spruce said, will relieve pressure on EMMC’s Boone House, which houses up to 16 students at the corner of Spruce and Hancock streets and is at capacity.
Harvey-McPherson added that student housing is a key recruitment and retention tool that hospital officials hope will increase the number of medical professionals working and living in the area.
Interest income from the Sylvia Ross Trust, which now stands at about $6 million, is used to subsidize rooms for the 13 seniors living in the existing assisted living facility, she said. Once the new facility is open, the funds will continue to cover the original 13 residents. Some of the interest income, however, also will be used to help cover housing costs for other seniors whose assets slightly exceed Medicare financial limits but who still are in need of financial assistance.