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Local retirement centers sport new looks

Retirement centers are big business in Jackson County. In fact, even remodeling retirement centers is big business.

Three centers are, or soon will be, sporting news looks and even expanded missions. Weatherly Inn on Poplar Drive in north Medford, along with The Springs Living communities off East McAndrews Road and Golf View Drive, have kept construction crews busy this fall.

Retirement homes and senior-living communities run deep in Dustin Fields, who is following the trail his grandfather blazed nearly 60 years ago. The family enterprise centered in Washington has expanded to nearly 100 properties throughout the Northwest.

A part owner in the broader family business, Fields branched off with his first outright purchase of the former Royal Oak Retirement Community for $5.6 million. Fields soon embarked on a $1 million overhaul of Weatherly Inn.

"We've enhanced the design by making it more applicable to the desires and interests of seniors," Fields said.

From the entryway portico to the dining and patio areas, hallways and residences, the 69,381-square-foot, 89-unit senior community is getting a workover, highlighted by the addition of a theater and fitness center. New landscaping will begin later this month.

"We were trying to get done by Christmas, but now it looks like the end of January," said Fields, who plans a February grand reopening.

Fields is the third owner of the senior complex. Like the residents, he said, the buildings needed love and attention.

"Our people were relieved to have someone on site every day," he said.

Weatherly Inn isn't the only property going through a major transition.

McMinnville-based The Springs Living, which acquired Veranda Park on East McAndrews Road and Anna Maria Creekside on Golf View Drive in May 2014 for $51.1 million, is also giving its Jackson County holdings a new look.

The properties, rechristened The Springs at Veranda Park and The Springs at Anna Maria, are among the organization's 11 Oregon and four Montana senior communities.

Work began in June on a $3.6 million project at Veranda Park, due for completion early next year.

Changes on the first and second floors of the 162,618-square-foot main lodge, surrounded by cottages on an 8.4-acre campus, will allow Veranda Park to offer assisted living beginning in mid-January, said The Springs Living corporate spokesperson Joyce Richter. 

"It moves us into another phase where we can provide more health services," Richter said. "There will be a registered nurse on site, and there will be assistance for people needing help dressing, bathing or whatever needs they have."

The transition will grow Veranda's staff from 63 to about 100, Richter said, with the hiring of additional clinical, administration, dining services, maintenance, housekeeping, caregiver and health-service providers. 

Executive Director Natalie Hayes said the changes will lead to 24-hour, seven-day staffing.

"It's a big deal for us to have this continuity," Hayes said. "Right now, if residents need a higher level of care, they have to move. This will allow them to stay in what has become home with their friends and neighbors."

Anna Maria just completed a $500,000 update. The centerpiece of the makeover is Springs Living's signature Fancho’s Public House, an alternative to the venue's traditional dining room, with seating for about 30 indoors and 20 outdoors.

"The last time we renovated was eight years ago," said Executive Director Meaghan Walkup. "Our residency was ready for the update. They were excited when they heard about it, excited when workmen came in, and gave a round of applause as the construction workers exited the building for the day."

The ground floor of the 92,000-square-foot building received new paint, carpet and furniture, as well as new seating around the fireplace.

A ribbon-cutting is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.

Dustin Fields, new owner of the Weatherly Inn on Poplar Drive in north Medford, is remodeling the retirement facility. Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch
Work is underway on a remodel of the Weatherly Inn, a retirement community in Medford. Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch