Lola Barner, a resident at Monticello Nursing & Rehab Center, concentrates on a game of Solitaire on her laptop. (Photo submitted)
Residents at the Monticello Nursing & Rehab Center get some exercise outside while batting a balloon with rackets. (Photo submitted)
This photo was seen in the Express on Aug. 8, 1968. Senior Home President Dr. E.H. DeShaw and Senior Home administrator Mike Goettsch are photographed outside the current Monticello Nursing & Rehab Center shortly after it was built. (Express file photo)
By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
So much has changed in the 45 years since the Monticello Nursing & Rehabilitation Campus was built. Additions have been added on, updates have occurred over the years and an assisted living facility was added in 2001, known as Pennington Square.
Looking back, the MNRC has an interesting history…
The official groundbreaking ceremony for the Senior Home, Inc. was captured in the Monticello Express in the May 25, 1967 issue. At the time, it was to be constructed in the Vanourny Addition in Monticello. Ray Embree spaded the first shovel of earth at the building site. Those witnessing the ceremony included Loras McNamara of McNamara Plumbing and Heating, Al Iben of Iben Construction, Dr. E.H. DeShaw, Dr. Otto Senft, Rev. Joseph Kirk who was then pastor of Sacred Heart Church, and Rev. John B. Wild who was then pastor of the First Presbyterian Church.
Also at this time, a board of directors ran the Senior Home. Serving on the board during the construction and opening were Administrator Mike Goettsch, Elton Copley, Max McCrabb, Dr. E.H. DeShaw, Mrs. Eloise Helgens, Dr. Otto Senft, Alva Freese, E.H. Huibregtse, Frank Shimanek, Henry Adams and Leigh Clark.
According to an article in the Express on Aug. 8, 1968, the nursing home was then “owned by the people in the Monticello area. Local investors working with CM, corporation nursing home specialists, are responsible for its successful completion.”
It went on to say that “no federal financing or special grants were solicited or obtained” in financing the construction of the new Senior Home, Inc. Many donations and private investments were used to “provide comfort and enjoyment for the residents of the Home.”
Senior Home, Inc. was ready to open the following year in early August. The Express put together a special issue dedicated toward the new project. The official open house, with the public invited, was held on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 10 and 11, 1968. Staff and board members gave tours of the facility during the two-day period, for all to see.
Highlights included the retirement wing, nursing wing, extended care wing, occupational and physical therapy rooms and the fully equipped barbershop and beauty salon.
A special dedication was held at 2 p.m. on Aug. 10.
Many local contractors and companies had a hand in making this $500,000 facility a reality for the Monticello community. “No less than 17 construction firms or suppliers provided the muscle and materials that have gone into Monticello’s new Senior Home.” Among the list were: Al Iben Construction Company, general contractor; First Electrical Service and Harris Electric, electrical contractors; Fred Iben Excavating & Grading Inc., excavating and landscaping work; Dunn & Moncrief, painting and decorating; Great Plains Supply Co., materials and millwork; Shomont Ready Mix, concrete; and Hargrave Furniture, furnished and installed the carpeting.
When the then Senior Home, Inc. opened its doors, the facility was described as a “modern retirement and care” facility. It included spacious, private and semi-private rooms; professional nurses on duty at all times; professional staff; fully equipped kitchen; a beautiful dining room and lounge area and more.
In the beginning, the Home could house 84 residents and provide around-the-clock medical care. Since then, the MNRC has added on. In 1971, 16 beds were added, to become a 100-bed facility. At the same time, an elevator was installed and the laundry room was moved to the basement, where laundry facilities could expand. A game room, chapel and meeting room was also added in the basement. In 1984, another 33 beds were added.
On Dec. 1, 1976, the Home was sold to John R. Grubb of Des Moines. Grubb contracted with James Shipley, of Anamosa, with Healthcare of Iowa, Inc. to manage the Home.
Today, with the addition of Pennington Square Assisted Living in 2001 and Millennium Outpatient Therapy Clinic in 2006, the MNRC has 42 private rooms, 32 semi-private rooms, eight large suites and three hospice/respite suites. They employ 115 people from around the area.
MNRC has been partnering with Millennium Therapy, providing physical, occupational and speech therapy on site, including outpatient therapy. While they specialize in rehabilitation for those who are 55 and older, their services are available to all ages.
Today, MNRC specializes in a wide variety of medical services such as IV antibiotic therapy, wound care, hospice care, restorative nursing and rehabilitation services. The campus includes 24-hour nursing care, skilled nursing, long-term care, respite care, laundry services, hair care services, family-style meals, recreational programming, whirlpool baths and more.
As MNRC celebrates its 45th anniversary this year, they are holding a free public event on Friday, Aug. 16, from 4 to 8 p.m. at their campus. Everyone is welcome to stop by for tours of the facility, visit with the residents, play games, enjoy the food and more! There will be bounce houses for the kids, massages for the adults, face painting, snow cones and music provided by Ben Dover. The MNRC is located at 500 Pinehaven Dr. in Monticello.
For more information on the celebration or to inquire about the facility, call new Administrator Casey Kann at 319-465-5415.