Nursing home renovations under way

Facility may begin accepting residents as early as August


Joy Daigle's father had been in Valley View Manor for only two days when the company that owned the nursing home announced it would be closing.

It was bad timing for Joy and her husband, Gabriel Daigle. The couple had just opened their restaurant, Wild West Smoked Bar-B-Q, and business was booming. They didn't have the time to take care of Joy's father, Clifford Ellender, who suffers from Parkinson's disease and needs full-time care.

"I was really upset," Joy Daigle said. "I didn't know what to do."

Fortunately, Joy Daigle found an opening at a nursing home in Meeker, but it wasn't ideal. Instead of visiting her father daily, as she had planned, she sees him about twice a month.

And while she and her husband are excited about the news that a nursing home will reopen in Craig, Joy Daigle said it will be a difficult choice whether to move her father again. Ellender is thriving in Meeker. He has gained 20 pounds. Joy Daigle is apprehensive about throwing another change at Ellender.

Still, the allure of having her father closer is appealing.

"We'd be grateful if they could get it going again," Gabriel Daigle said.

Like many people, the Daigle's are curious about the timeline for the nursing home.

"We have people stopping in all the time at the nursing home asking about it," said Pam Young, the project manager for the group that is reopening the home. It closed last summer.

Inside the former Valley View Manor, major changes are under way.

The place smells of fresh paint and new construction. Fixtures are masked off, new beds are stored in open spaces, new walls have been erected and others will be torn down. It's as if the building was being built for the first time.

In large part, it is, Young said.

In her office at Northwest Health Specialists Center, a table is covered with samples of tile, carpet and color swatches.

"Except for the exterior walls, it will be a brand new building," Young said. "It's going to be beautiful."

The front entrance will be in a different place, and it will have drive-up access, which will allow residents to be dropped off right at the front door.

The entire building will be repainted. Young said it will have a homey, less clinical atmosphere. The furniture will be light oak, leather and a bit rustic. The old fireplace will get a gas insert. The dining room is being expanded. A physical and occupational therapy room has been built.

Residents will be able to watch wildlife in a bird atrium. Water will spill down a decorative wall in the lobby, where a big screen television will entertain residents and guests.

Artwork will hang from walls throughout the building, including some donated by local artists.

"We'll be spending a substantial amount on prints, so it's really nice for the residents," Young said.

The windows will be replaced. Sparkling sprinklers hang from the ceilings, one of the renovations that was required to bring the building up to current life safety codes.

The kitchen is being completely renovated, Young said, and outside, there will be new landscaping. Sidewalks will be widened to better accommodate wheelchairs.

"I'm getting excited," Young said. "When you see it starting to go back together, it gets fun."

The owner of the new home is Veldon "Lop" Behrman, a rancher and longtime resident of Sunbeam.

"Somebody had to do it, so me and Pam did it," Behrman said.

According to Young, Tracey Behrman, Veldon's former daughter-in-law, was instrumental in getting him onboard.

"When the nursing home closed, it really upset Tracey," Young said. "She came to Lop and said, 'You have to buy this. We need it.' Her input and drive convinced him to pursue it."

Veldon Behrman also suffered a personal loss in connection with the closing. His uncle had been at the home and passed away shortly after being relocated, Young said.

The renovations should be complete in May, Young said. In June, she and her partners plan to hold an open house so people can see the new home first-hand.

Two management companies have submitted proposals to operate the long-term care facility, Young said. The home may begin accepting residents as early as Aug. 1. There's no formal waiting list, but people who want information about setting up residency for a family member can contact Pam Young at 824-1900.

Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or

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