Ribbon-Cutting, Grand Opening Held for New $22-Million Dane County Nursing Home
Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, County Board Supervisors, and local officials officially marked the opening of Dane County’s new Badger Prairie Health Care Center with a ribbon cutting today (Thursday, February 3rd). This brand-new $22.6 million Dane County nursing home will ensure the county’s most vulnerable citizens continue to receive the highest level of care.
“The beautiful new facility we’re opening today exemplifies Dane County’s commitment to stand beside our most fragile - - our seniors, disabled, and those with special needs – to make sure they have the best quality of life possible,” Falk said. “Over 200 builders, painters, plumbers, and electricians worked hard over the past 18 months to construct the state of the art nursing home you see today.”
Up to 120 residents will be able to live in the new Badger Prairie Health Care facility. The building has 12 different sections - - each with its own private bedrooms and bathrooms for residents along with kitchen, dining, and living areas.
The new modern nursing home was built with a number of innovative “green” features. A solar hot water heater will warm water used for laundry, showers, and baths. More than 100 geo-thermal wells were drilled at the site to pull up water from the earth to help heat and cool Badger Prairie. These wells are all 300 feet deep and will reduce the need to run costly air conditioners and heaters by helping control the inside temperature. These technologies are expected to save the county nearly $92,000 a year in energy costs.
“This 24/7 facility is ideal for geothermal technology,” noted Supervisor Robin Schmidt who helped spearhead the move to use this innovative system. “Geothermal systems last much longer, are quieter and easier to maintain than conventional systems, don’t give off greenhouse gases, and will save taxpayers money by not having to pay uncertain fuel costs in the future.”
Energy efficient lighting and temperature controls were also installed throughout the facility during construction. In addition, more than half of the waste materials from the construction process will be recycled for future projects.
Focus on Energy recognized the county’s efforts to construct a “green” nursing home by awarding Dane County over $61,000 in clean energy rebates. A check from Focus on Energy was presented to County Executive Falk at Thursday’s ribbon-cutting and grand opening.
“By going green with our new Badger Prairie, we’ll save taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in ‘green’ on energy costs each year,” Falk said.
After thorough study, the county decided in 2006 to build a new nursing home just north of the current facility in Verona. That study found most patients at Badger Prairie have needs too challenging to meet in other nursing home settings. Cost of relying on other facilities to provide that care was found to be three to four times more than services currently offered by the county.
Badger Prairie Health Care Center provides health and long-term care for Dane County seniors and adults with disabilities. It’s a skilled nursing facility that provides specialized services and treatment to adults with behavioral, emotional, or psychiatric disorders that make it impossible for them to live on their own.
Badger Prairie is the oldest, continually operating health care facility in Dane County and very likely the entire state of Wisconsin. The site of the new facility has a long history of caring for Dane County’s most vulnerable. In the early 1850s, the center helped Civil War widows and their children as well as county residents with a wide range of health needs.
In 1880, a separate building for the mentally ill was built at the site and in 1913 the Dane County Board renamed the facility the Dane County Asylum Farm. It eventually was renamed the Dane County Hospital and Home before becoming the Badger Prairie Health Care Center in 1985.
Residents will be moved from the current Badger Prairie facility to the new center later this month. In spring, the center currently being used will be demolished and converted into parking space for the new Badger Prairie Health Care Center and other nearby county operations.