Tom Hintgen / Daily Journal: John Richards, CEO of PioneerCare, cuts the ribbon during the grand opening ceremony Friday afternoon at the new facility in Fergus Falls.

Archived Story

A new journey for PioneerCare [UPDATED]

Published 10:52am Monday, April 18, 2011 Updated 10:52am Monday, April 18, 2011

The old PioneerCare served area residents well for over 80 years. The new Pioneer Care Center, which celebrated a grand opening and ribbon cutting Friday afternoon, is a facility that in the words of CEO John Richards “can adapt and serve the community well for the next 80 years.”

On Friday guests and dignitaries heralded the new facility along Maybelle Avenue in southeast Fergus Falls. Another milestone will take place May 2 when residents at the old facility on South Sheridan will move into their new home.

Public and private partnership makes a real difference, said Colleen Landkamer, State Director of USDA Rural Development which is making a loan to Pioneer Retirement Community. The $2.3 million Pioneering the Future campaign provided many added features to the new facility, including the chapel, gardens and gathering spaces.

“We at Pioneer appreciate support from all of you,” said Richards on Friday. “This facility was designed so that residents can truly call this home.”

Fergus Falls Mayor Hal Leland said, “This is a state-of-the-art facility that will serve for generations to come. It’s truly a magnificent facility. I see nothing but success with PioneerCare as we launch into the future.”

State Rep. Bud Nornes said the new facility in Fergus Falls will be a model for other communities. “They will borrow ideas from this wonderful facility,” he said.

Dick Werner, chairman of the PioneerCare Corporate Board of Directors, referred to the vision and planning from many people that eventually made the facility a reality.

A letter of congratulations from U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson was read during the grand opening on Friday. Peterson and others referred to a mission while building the PioneerCare Center in Fergus Falls.

The original facility at South Sheridan was built in 1928 with support from the congregations of Bethlehem, First Lutheran and Zion churches. Following the ELCA merger in 1988, Augustana and Hope Lutheran churches became sponsors.

The new $23 million facility on South Maybelle will have 85 private rooms, 10 split-double suites and more than double the current facility’s size.

“Not only is this new facility twice as big as our old facility,” said Richards, “ but this prompts us to provide twice the care in years to come. Getting to where we are today is the work of many people coming together to fulfill a dream.”

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