Things are running a little behind in White River Junction. The Village at White River Junction, the state-of-the-art assisted living and memory care facility, was originally slated to open on September 8. Now it's looking like The Village won't be able to open until late November, smack in the middle of the holiday season. So what's the reason for the delay?
Word on the street is that the facility has not opened as originally planned due to a combination of construction delays (Estes & Gallup is the general contractor on the project) and difficulty in signing on staff (you can see digital and print help wanted ads in a variety of locations).
Brooke Ciardelli, co-developer of The Village with Byron Hawthorn, provided some slightly more nuanced reasons for the delays. "The only thing that is consistent with every construction project is that the complex coordination of all the different trades results in delays beyond what any developer wants or any contractor predicts - and The Village is no different. Over the past months, there have been days with as many as 150 laborers on the site all working to coordinate their work around each other. The quality of workmanship, the aspirational design and attention to detail have taken more time than we had planned, but this is a building that is going to last 100 years and we are focused on getting it right. We are dedicated to maintaining the excellence in all aspects, and willing to allow more time to accomplish our vision."
Ciardelli advised that The Village has received its Temporary Certificate of Occupancy which allows the administrative and operating staff to begin working in the building and setting up their systems. Starting on Monday Oct 29, The Village's leadership staff and department directors will all be based in the new building. She noted that all the furnishings are being delivered, installed and set up between November 7 and 9 and that they expect the full Certificate of Occupancy, the VT State License and completion of operational staff training to be complete by the end of November. After that, residents can start to move in.
As for staffing, Ciardelli said that The Village hired its Executive Director nearly a year ago and progressively, over the past twelve months, the staff has grown and will continue to grow as the community becomes leased up to the full 80 apartments occupied by residents. She stated that the wages and benefits packages being offered to prospective employees are competitive, and that the new, state-of-the-art building with its programming for residents is very appealing to applicants. She's very excited about the skills, experience, training and personality of the members of the staff hired to date and is not concerned about staffing up to meet the operational needs of The Village as it opens.
There's plenty of excitement to go around regarding the opening of The Village and how it will alter downtown White River Junction and the Upper Valley at large. It's undeniably exciting to think that White River Junction will soon be home to a $27 million, 89-bed facility with amenities like a movie theatre, art enrichment activities, spas and salon, gym, dog groomer and park, and tavern and bistro and that's designed to meet the health and wellness needs of our ever aging population. Here's hoping it opens at the end of November!
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