HOLDEN, Mass. — Residents driving down Main Street in the past months may have noticed Oriol Health Care's new Holden Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center has been taking shape, with Cutler Associates making steady progress on the major renovation and addition project.
"It's exciting to see it all coming together," said Bob Oriol, President and CEO of Oriol Health Care. "This is by far the biggest construction project we've done."
Along with his brother, Dave, the Oriols had finished the Oakdale Rehab and Skilled Nursing Center in West Boylston three years ago, and according to Bob, "this is twice the size."
In February, the Oriols broke ground to start the Holden Rehabilitation & Skilled Nursing Center project — the first step in what will become a senior living and health care campus that will fill their 22 acre site.
Construction of the $16.6 million dollar project began on Feb. 6, when builder Cutler Associates started site work on the connected Mayo Drive and Boyden Road Properties.
The project consists of combining the 100-bed Holden Rehab and Nursing Center and 41-bed Wachusett Extended Care into a combined facility of 123 beds that will house residents from both facilities.
The combined building will include a large rehab program space and three nursing wings - or neighborhoods - one oriented toward WEC residents requiring ventilator support, one focused on traditional skilled nursing beds, and one focused on short-term and out-patient rehab.
The Oriols have been dedicated and active members in the Holden community, and the development of the building in town is a continuation of their years of service to their neighbors.
"First of all, we will have these services for the greater Holden community, and especially service a lot of people going west on 122A," said Oriol. "It also means jobs, and as this will be a nice-looking building, it sets a standard for the types of buildings we would like to see on Main Street and the center of town."
For Debby Osipov Westerback, director of Community Relations for Oriol Health Care, it is heartwarming to see the Oriols' dedication and investment in the Holden community.
"At this time, to be taking on a project like this, it's very heartwarming to know that Bob and Dave are making the investment to stay put," she said. "So those of us that work here know that there's a future and this is just the beginning of it, because you know there are other buildings that are starting soon."
Founded in 1964 by their father, Eugene Oriol, the nursing home began on the site with just 60 beds. in the 80's, Bob and Dave stepped up to administrative positions at the family's two nursing homes, and now the company employs over 400 people at Holden Rehabilitation & Skilled Nursing Center, Wachusett Extended Care Facility and Oriol Therapy Services in Holden, and Oakdale Rehabilitation & Skilled Nursing Center in West Boylston.
"They're really giving back in the shadow of their dad, and I've heard from a few people lately how proud he would be," said Westerback.
In two years, the Oriols will celebrate the company's 50th anniversary, so the roots run deep in Holden. In fact, many residents have some connection to either the nursing home or Wachusett Extended Care when it was Holden Hospital.
"It was an integral part of the community, and when the nursing home was Holden Nursing home, for a lot of us that was your first job. You worked at the hospital or the nursing home, you were a candy striper or you were an aid, and that was how you started your career. And there are generations of people working in the building," said Westerback.
With the new building, that tradition of serving Holden continues, and already major progress has been made. At the end of last week roof work was being completed, and prep-work began on the west wing of the facility.
"The progress is amazing, and Cutler Construction is doing a wonderful job," said Oriol. "it's wonderful we have Cutler here to manage the process, because this is sort of uncharted territory for us, the construction and development of the new building."
Even with the frequent rainstorms, the project has continued to move forward.
"It causes re-focusing," said Brad Kendall, project superintedent. "You have to keep moving, so if you get blocked up one spot you go to something else. You have to, to keep on schedule."
The driver behind the first phase of the project was the substantial expansion and upgrade of Oriol's rehab services within their existing nursing facility, which has remained open throughout the project.
Considerable work will be done to address chronic problems within the exisiting 1960's era facility, including expanded rehab space and deferred maintenance items.
The state of the art building will also incorporate newer technologies, such as centralized oxygen for residents requiring ventilator support.
"Our Wachusett wing is going to have piped in medical gasses, especially for those in need of those types of services" said Oriol. "It's much more efficient, quieter, and better."
Seamless wi-fi will also be available throughout the entire building, "for those who still need to keep things going while they are recuperating," Oriol added.
Additionally, in one unit, there will be ovehead lift units to help patients who don't have the strength to get themselves up and support themselves.
New courtyards will also give residents the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the beautified surroundings of the center.
Moreover, the renovations will not only benefit those in need of health services, but the staff as well.
"People like to work in a progressive place," said Oriol. "They like to work at a place that's going some place, rather than withering on the vine, and this gives a sense of energy."
Furthermore, as it was important to the Oriols to use local vendors for the project, contractors have included: Carlco Construction, Inc. of Leominster; Leahy Construction, Elliot Tree, and Connections Voice and Data, from Holden; JJ Bafaro, of Worcester and Rutland Nurseries and Sterling Concrete.
While the work has been underway, the current residents and staff of the open facility have had a first-hand view of all the construction, watching out the windows with keen interest on the progress.
"It's been great dealing with the staff inside," said Kendall. "The foremans and I meet every morning with the staff just to cover any concerns, or what happens throughout the day. We've had a great relationship, and we want to keep that line open all the time."
In addition to the renovated Holden Rehab Facility, the long term development of the Holden Campus will include a medical office building on Boyden Road, which the Oriols will break ground on at the end of June.
To learn more about the project, and see the progress currently being made on-site, check out the photo gallery and video.