TORRINGTON – The final piece of Evergreen Plaza Assisted Living in order to be complete was the furniture.
While residents will be able to bring their own beds and other furniture to their rooms, there was a need for chairs and couches for residents to sit elsewhere in the facility.
On Sunday, staff and guests grabbed chairs from all over the complex just minutes before the opening ceremony. Fifty-two chairs were originally set out for guests to come and see the new level of senior care in Goshen County. Even with the additional seats, there was still not enough for the approximately 100 guests in attendance. It was a testament to the vision of Evergreen Plaza since the beginning of the project: a place for the community.
Paul Novak, Goshen Care Center Joint Powers Board Chairman and recent recipient of the AARP Wyoming’s Andrus Award, finally had the chance to show the public what he has been working on for the past four years.
“This has been such a community affair you could tell by the audience here and the people that it was really well received,” Novak said.
The ceremony started with an invocation from Carl Rupp from the joint powers board. Novak followed and said Evergreen Plaza is the last piece to providing every type of senior care in the county.
“It is official that all four levels of senior care is now available for Goshen County citizens,” Novak said.
The assisted living center will allow for Goshen County seniors to stay within the community.
Novak also recognized all of the people who helped including the Goshen County Economic Department, the Wyoming Business Council, Torrington City Council, Goshen County Commissioners, Vetras Healthcare, and TSP Architecture.
Novak then let Ken Farrier with Goshen County Construction talk about his role as construction manager and how he managed to keep almost everything local for while building Evergreen Plaza.
“This is an $8,500,000 project. About 6,000,000 of it we spent local,” Farrier said. “Almost all the building materials for this project was purchased right here in town.”
Farrier also said about 40 of the 65 employees who worked on the project were also local.
Novak invited the rest of the joint powers board to stand by the red ribbon as Evergreen Court Manager Peggy Holmstrand received the honor to cut the ribbon due to all of her contributions to the project.
Community members had a chance to tour the facility after the ceremony.
Although there are three room options available for residents: studio, standard, and deluxe, Novak said 20 of the rooms have already been filled and only standard rooms remain.
The four neighborhoods which are classified as red, blue, yellow and green all feature a “community center” for residents to sit and mingle with their neighbors.
The color of the walls are not the only distinguishing factors between each neighborhood, as the pictures and wall hangings provide a bit of uniqueness as well.
“We did that to identify the neighborhoods,” Novak said. “A lot of our residents come from neighborhoods and so we try to set our neighborhoods’ center in each wing or each area so we can still keep the neighborhood concept.”
The art also ties Evergreen Plaza into Goshen County as everything has been created by local artists and photographers. Novak said they have also been working with Southeast Art Association to have a gallery for artists.
“If somebody wants to come through and buy [a picture] they can do that and then they’ll replace it with another picture, but it has to be Goshen County,” Novak said.
The facility also has a room which is dedicated to be the chapel and movie theater. The initial plan was to split the room in half and move the chairs based on the event taking place, but Novak said they may just keep them facing the same way. It will depend on what the ministers and the residents prefer.
“I don’t see the chapel being used and the theater being used at the same time we might just keep it one way and schedule it around the various uses,” Novak said. “That’s one of the things that we’ll have to work on.”
Outside of the facility is a walking path which goes all around the facility, and benches are available for residents who would like to take a break from walking.
“Those benches are stopping points and it’ll be easy for them to get inside, so we’re not going to put anybody on that walking path without a comfort level around on it,” Novak said.
Although everything is ready to go at Evergreen Plaza, the state must walk through and give them a certificate of occupancy before residents can move in. It is the only thing Novak has not been able to plan.
“With the state, they’ll tell you when they can come,” Novak said jokingly.
Novak and the joint powers board have already started the next steps which is putting a plan in place to renovate Evergreen Court and further connect the two senior living centers into one big community.
With the new facility ready to open, Novak was happy to share it with the community who will be benefiting from it.
“It’s just been a fun deal and we’ve had a lot of community involvement,” Novak said. “We have evergreen plaza really on the roll now, and we are just ready to get residents in and we’ll be ready to go.”