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Virtual groundbreaking held for new senior living facility



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Peabody Home Executive Director Meg Miller at the groundbreaking for the comprehensive new senior living facility. (Courtesy Photo) (click for larger version)
January 13, 2021
FRANKLIN — The team at the Peabody Home in downtown Franklin put shovels in the ground at a recent virtual groundbreaking ceremony to formally kick of the construction process that will result in a significant expansion of facilities and services. The ceremony, captured on video, includes remarks from staff, board members and the mayor, all highlighting the long history of the Peabody Home and the strong interest in creating a "new Peabody." The larger, brand-new facility will provide more capacity for assisted living and memory care and add in new high quality independent living options for a full continuum of care.

"Peabody Home has given back to this community for almost 100 years. This Board of Directors felt that we needed something to push the Peabody Home forward into the next century. The best option the board found is to put in a brand-new facility that will serve this community for another 100 years," said Chris Seufert, chair of the Peabody Home Board of Trustees, during the virtual groundbreaking.

Funding totaling $26 million was approved through the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Development's Community Facilities Direct Loan & Grant Program in November. On Dec. 22, all loan paperwork was finalized, allowing construction to start.

"Three years ago, we (the board) thought about expanding and meeting the expectations of what we know is coming in this industry. We looked at our 80-year-old building and thought, 'it's time to think of something different.' What we have come up with is a set of plans that will accommodate two times the census and three times the square footage," said John Benham, who also serves on the board and chairs the Building Committee.

Construction of the new 63,632 square foot facility will be done in two primary phases. The first phase will be the construction of the assisted living and memory care facility. Upon completion, residents and staff from the current facility, which dates back to 1942, will be moved to the new building. Phase one is expected to be completed in late 2021.

Franklin Mayor Tony Guinta participated in the virtual groundbreaking and read a proclamation.

"The Peabody Home is now poised to begin an incredible expansion that will not only compliment Franklin's downtown rebirth, but most importantly will provide a special place for more than 70 seniors to enjoy their golden years in a warm, safe and well-appointed environment," he said.

After phase one is completed, the original building will then be torn down and phase two will include constructing the new independent living facility on that location. Both phases will be integrated into a single three-story building that features a granite and brick façade and large manor windows and will include a 24-hour emergency response system, personal transportation services, a beauty and barber shop, an exercise and wellness room and easy access to downtown Franklin. Phase two is expected to be completed in late 2022.

Once completed, the "new Peabody Home" will more than double capacity from the current 37 residents and will include 13 memory care apartments, 45 assisted living apartments and 16 independent living apartments. It will feature more common space and take advantage of its unique views of the Winnipesauke River, which bends around a point where the facility is located.

"The Peabody Home has been an integral and beloved part of Franklin's downtown since the early 1940's. Residents near and far have come to trust the facility for its high quality of care. The expanded capacity will be critical as the Peabody Home continues to serve the growing senior population of this great community," US Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said in a letter submitted as part of the ceremony.

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan and U.S. Representative Annie Kuster provided video commentary for the ceremony.

"This modernization and expansion of the Peabody Home will serve more seniors in our state, keeping them safe and healthy, and improving their lives," Sen. Hassan said in her video.

"I'm just thrilled that the Peabody Home has received this significant funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This direct loan represents an important investment in the City of Franklin, its residents and surrounding communities," Rep. Kuster added in her video.

Meg Miller, who has been at the Peabody Home for 22 years and currently serves as director, thanked her volunteer board for all of their work and support and Rural Development for providing the funding to make this project a reality. She encouraged those interested in learning more about the expansion to visit a new Web site that has information on the project.

Peabody Home, which is an independent nonprofit organization, will continue its unique benefits that help make it an affordable, high-quality option for senior living. While many facilities that offer independent living often require a significant down payment, Peabody plans on requiring a small, fully refundable deposit. The facility will also continue to offer its Yankee Plan, where residents pay for basic services and can then add in additional services a la carte, so they are not charged for services they don't use.

Schematics and additional information on the building can be found online. Space in the new facility can be reserved now. Anyone who moves into the Peabody Home prior to the opening of the expanded facility will have a space held for them in the "new Peabody." The building was designed by EGA P.C. Engelberth Construction is building the facility and the engineering work is being conducted by Nobis Engineering. Advisory work is being provided by RS Consulting and North Country and theNorthern Community Investment Corporation. For more information, contact Marylee Gorham at 934-3718 ormgorham@peabodyhome.org.

Martin Lord Osman
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