By Rob Wagner, Director of Development and Communications, Bethany Home at Ripon
Founded in 1963, Bethany Home was created by community leaders and area churches to provide a home for the seniors of the Central Valley. For nearly 60 years, Bethany Home has honored and enriched the aging experience in a vibrant Christ-centered community. It has grown to serve over 400 residents through its multiple levels of care. They include skilled nursing, assisted living, memory care, independent living, in-home care, and adult day services.
“In 2016 we started planning for Bethany Home’s future. The board and campus leaders worked together to complete a strategic plan and a campus master plan,” said Cindy Scheublein, Executive Director at Bethany Home. “A market study was also conducted to identify the unmet service needs of seniors in the surrounding areas. As we reviewed our plans and the market study results, we saw a need to expand our campus to provide contemporary homes with additional amenities including culinary and wellness offerings. By providing care services, residents will have peace of mind these services are available if and when they are needed. Being able to age in place is a significant step forward in allowing a person to continue dignity and independence,” she explained.
To get the “Terraces at Bethany” project started, Bethany Home partnered with senior living experts GSI, a full-service development firm with a history of helping senior living communities plan for the future. “Finding the right consultants might be the biggest decision you’ll make. You need to trust them 100 percent because they will be who you rely on to guide you through the ups and downs of the project,” said Scheublein.
Another key to success is fostering open communication and transparency with city leaders. Bethany Home met with the city of Ripon’s planning staff early and often. “We went to them very early, before we even hired consultants, to let them know we were thinking of doing something,” said Scheublein. “They were very helpful in defining the scope and even the size of the project.”
When it came time to share this project with the community Bethany Home had a plan that worked well. They held meetings with the existing residents and staff to make sure they were the first to know about the project. “It was important that we listened to the concerns of our residents and made sure they knew why we were expanding,” explained Scheublin. “Once they understood the need for the project, they were great advocates for it in the community.”
They also worked with the GSI marketing team to hold six informational sessions for the residents and the public. “Having beautiful visuals to share with the community was amazing. The marketing materials GSI created included brochures, mailings, postcards, banners, and an amazing website,” said Scheublein.
These sessions were a big success and led to a robust response from the community, with over 300 people expressing interest in living at The Terraces at Bethany.
From the start of the project, the GSI team formed a Project Committee consisting of board members and campus leaders to ensure these stakeholders kept informed and when necessary, help with decisions. The committee assisted with the selection of the architect, construction company, and interior design elements.
Perhaps the most important step in the project development phase is establishing the overall project budget. Construction costs (hard costs) were obviously the highest expense of the plan but it is essential to know and understand the impact of soft costs as they can add up quickly. These costs include architect and engineering, building permits, impact fees, furnishings, fixtures and equipment, financing fees, developer fees, and the start-up of operations.
The Terraces will be funded through a negotiated underwriting led by B.C. Ziegler & Co. (“Ziegler”). The financing will be sourced through the tax-exempt fixed-rate bond market, structured with a 30-year final maturity to result in level annual debt service each year. Further, the bonds will be insured by the Cal-Mortgage Loan Insurance Program allowing Bethany Home to access the capital markets backed by the “AA-” rating of the State of California. Scheublein warned, “the loan process was a tremendous amount of work. Anticipate that there will be surprises along the way. It will also take longer than you’d expect and the costs will only rise as you get further into the project.”
Learn more about Bethany Home: bethanyripon.org