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More care at the Inn

The owners of Weatherly Inn, an independent living community on Poplar Drive in Medford, want to provide advanced services for seniors who need more help.

Not long after purchasing the senior community in 2015, Dustin Fields recognized the growing need for assisted-living and memory-care units in the Rogue Valley, which attracts hundreds of retirees annually.

For the past year and a half, the development staff at Fields Senior Living, based in Olympia, Washington, has generated plans for Weatherly Court, a 97-unit, three-story, 77,000-square-foot residential care facility on 1.53 acres.

The Medford Site Plan and Architectural Review Commission will consider the project Friday at its noon meeting. If approved, Weatherly Court will have 48 assisted-living apartments and 49 for memory-care occupants, more than doubling the 89 units at the 69,831-square-foot Weatherly Inn.

The proposed $19.5 million facility would go on a largely wooded lot to the north of the existing center, built in 1984. The buildings would be separated by a fire lane. Weatherly Court would be next door to the Ivy Club Apartments and back up to single-family residences on Jubilant Avenue.

"It was never developed by the original owner," Fields said of the site. "It's been an opportunity waiting. We did some evaluating here in Medford and feel there is great potential to bring some of our specialty here. There is unmet demand for memory care and assisted living. By creating a campus, we're giving our seniors options for future care needs."

It's especially true, he said, for residents desiring access to 24-hour nursing and other services.

After acquiring the former Royal Oak Retirement Community for $5.6 million in March 2015, Fields pumped $1 million into a refurbishing project, which led to a Senior Advisor award.

The present center usually has more than 90 residents, but if residents are no longer able to care for themselves, their families move them elsewhere.

"An average of one to two move to another facility, depending on the month," Fields said. "This would definitely provide relief and encouragement for people knowing there is a place for them on this campus."

Weatherly Court residents would have private apartments with fireplaces, and the building is planned to have a movie theater, sun rooms and sun porches, dining areas, an enclosed courtyard, along with beauty shops and a barbershop.

"It will definitely have a continuing-care feel, but we're not pursuing that designation," Fields said.

Melinda Maginn is executive director for Weatherly Inn, which has 32 employees. Fields anticipates overall employment would surpass 100 if Weatherly Court is filled.

He hopes to break ground and begin construction around Aug. 1, and open for business in August 2018.

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

Donna and John Stinnett, residents of the Weatherly Inn in Medford, are greeted Thursday by owner Dustin Fields. Fields is planning to build a residential care facility called Weatherly Court behind the senior community. [Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch]