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Shepherd of the Valley gives tour

$32 million facility opens next week

LIBERTY — Next week, residents of the Shepherd of the Valley in Niles will be moving to their nearby new home at the $32 million nursing home facility off Tibbetts Wick Road.

On Sunday, the public had the opportunity to see the new state-of-the-art location in Liberty that will officially open July 21.

Rick Mattix, associate director of Shepherd of the Valley Niles / Liberty, was among the staff taking guests on a tour of the two-story, 173,375-square-foot facility.

Mattix said all 90 residents and staff at the 48-year-old Niles site will be transferred to the Liberty site. Plans are to sell the Niles building and property, with apartments there already sold.

“We are excited to be able to serve Liberty and the surrounding communities. We thank Niles for the great relationship we have had there for the past 48 years. That location served us well. … Today is the first time we have opened our doors to the public to come in and see our new location,” Mattix said.

The Niles location opened in 1972 and the staff will spend one day getting everyone moved from that location to the new one.

“We will start moving people that day at 4:30 in the morning. It will be a busy day,” Mattix said.

He said there had been discussion for the past 10 years to have a new location and the 50-acre property off Tibbetts Wick Road became available.

Groundbreaking for the Liberty location was in October 2018, and work was completed last month by DeSalvo Construction.

The first floor is for nursing home patients and the second floor for assisted living and assisted living memory care residents. There are 30 regular assisted living and 30 memory care units.

Mattix said the ground floor has 30 independent living units, physical and occupational therapy rooms, large dining area, a library room with books donated by the Girard Free Library, nurses’ stations, “happy hour” lounge, and guest dining room area for larger events. He said plans are for a bocce court and grill outside in the courtyard.

The therapy room includes a car that people learn to get in and out of and also how to load groceries and other items as they complete therapy and return to their homes.

Mattix said in main lobby entrance houses a large metal image of a shepherd made at RMI that was showcased at the Niles location.

“We were able to get this with the help of Fred Kubli, who had it commissioned for us,” he said.

He said when people go outside, they will be able to see wildlife from the nearby 13-acre wetlands, including deer.

Mattix said when people went on tours, they commented on how spacious hallways are, and on rooms that have large doors and restrooms for those with wheelchairs and walkers.

Niles resident Robert Marino Sr. said “magnificent” was the word that came to mind when he walked through the building with family.

“This has been long overdue. It is really nice. How can anyone not want to stay here?” Marino said.

Liberty resident Cindy Thomas said she has watched the complex get built as she drives by regularly.

“It is absolutely beautiful. I have watched it grow from the ground up,” she said.

“It feels like a large home. It is amazing all that is here,” Girard resident Patti Spicer said.

Cathy Gorman of McDonald said she could not believe how large the therapy rooms and dining areas are.

“There is so much to see here,” she said.

Danielle Procopio, corporate director of marketing, sales and communication at Shepherd of the Valley, said a large decorative canopy at the front entrance keeps people safe from the weather and can be used for outside visits.

“I have had a lot of comments from people how large and luxurious the building is. People are surprised at some of the amenities we have such as a happy hour lounge, multiple community rooms they can use for families, the large dining spaces. We wanted it to be different and outside the box,” she said.

Procopio said the Liberty location is 65,000-square-feet larger than the Niles site.

Other Shepherd of the Valleys are located in Poland, which opened in 1991, Boardman in 1994 and Howland in 1996.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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