Chase Memorial Awarded $8 Million Grant To Rebuild New Berlin Facility
Published: February 24th, 2023
By: Kelli Miller

Chase Memorial awarded $8 million grant to rebuild New Berlin facility Chase Memorial was awarded an $8 million grant to rebuild a new structure in New Berlin. (Photo by Tyler Murphy)

NEW BERLIN – Recently Chase Memorial Nursing home in New Berlin was selected by New York State to recive $8 million for modern upgrades.

Chase Memorial Nursing Facility founded in New Berlin by local resident Minnie Mary Chase. For many years, Chase set the standard for Long Term Care with skilled nursing in New York State and the nation.

Chase was also the facility where the Eden Alternative was created. The Eden project brought children, pets and plants into the facility to create a home-like environment for the residents. This concept is still present in the county and has also gone international.

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President and CEO of Good Shepherd Communities Mike Keenan said, “Through the years, Chase has struggled financially. Chenango County has a high population of seniors without resources to pay for private long term care.” He added, “ Chase has always provided a safety net for those individuals so they are able to remain in their communities.”

“The facility struggled to meet its operating expenses and considered selling the facility to a for profit owner. Just prior to the sale, Chase approached Good Shepherd Communities in Binghamton regarding coming under the Good Shepherd umbrella,” Keenan said.

Good Shepherd has operated not-for-profit retirement communities in Binghamton since 1870. In 2017 Chase became a member of Good Shepherd Communities and after two years of membership, Chase was able to cover its expenses.

“The problem facing Chase was that it was over 50-years-old and could not be renovated.” Keenan said.

“With Good Shepherd Communities assistance, Chase applied for a transformation grant during phase one and phase two in order to construct a new nursing home. Both times, Chase was not selected to receive funding.” He added.

On February 17 Chase received notice that the NY State Department of Health and the governor's office had selected Chase to receive an $8 million. This grant money will be used toward building a new nursing home to replace the current aging structure.

Keenan said, “The state has not yet released details of how to access the funds. While the $8 million is appreciated, the cost of construction is estimated to be in the $30 million range. The $8 million is similar to a down payment, if you were buying a house.”

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“The next steps will be to prepare a new financial feasibility study, to send a request for proposal to architectural construction management and civil engineers. We will be working to assure the issuance of tax exempt bonds to cover the remaining costs of construction, this will be done by Good Shepherd Communities and our legal counsel Coughlin and Gerhart. We hope by spring 2024 we will have construction bids, contracts awarded and shovels in the ground.” He said.

Keenan added, “During construction, residents will continue to be cared for in the existing building. Construction should take approximately 15 months so the new building may be occupied by fall of 2025. After the transfer of residents from the old building to the new one, the existing structure will be razed and staff parking.”

This project will have a huge impact on residents, staff and New Berlin and Chenango County residents. Chase residents will reside in a new building with dining and activity space on their floors. Extra elevators will be added as opposed to the single elevator now in place. The latest kitchen equipment with pantries on each floor so food can be in steam tables in the dining rooms will be in place. All necessary functions will be built in this new building. Currently laundry and human resources are located in out buildings. Finally, staff will have the resources they need with new wireless call bells, electronic kiosks for charting and offices for privacy.

Keenan said, “Residents of New Berlin and Chenango County will have a new up to date facility for loved ones to reside in. Aside from the Veteran's Home, every other nursing facility in Chenango County is 30-plus-years-old.”

Contracts will be awarded to as many local firms as possible bringing much needed construction dollars to the community. Chase will continue to provide employment opportunities to over 100 dedicated staff members.

New Berlin Mayor Peter Lennon said, “He is thankful to Mike Kennan and the Good Shepherd team for never losing their focus on the importance of quality care and wellness for all our community.”

Lennon added, “This state-of-the-art facility will be more than a mere structure. It is a milestone event which will offer a network of career opportunities for the future. We must start working collaboratively NOW to create the regional educational and training 'gateways' necessary to support it.”

Keenan said, “The staff at Chase is one of the best teams I have ever seen. While the new building will be beautiful, it is only bricks and mortar. The thing that makes Chase so special is the dedicated loving care each staff members show to the resident and families of Chase Memorial Nursing Facility."