Portage County Health Center looking to build a new home

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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) – Building a new home. This is what the Portage County Health Care Center (PCHCC) hopes to accomplish in the near future, but they need help from voters for a referendum.

In April, Portage County voters will decide whether or not the new skilled nursing facility will receive $4.5 million to fund its operations for many years to come.

Parts of the PCHCC date back to the 1930s. Although the building is structurally sound, its layout is not ideal.

“Everywhere we look, we need change,” said PCHCC administrator Marcia McDonald.

Currently, the qualified nursing home has small bedrooms, a finicky HVAC system, community showers and shared toilets.

“It would be like you or I staying in a hotel room and sharing with a roommate next door, or being ushered down the hall to shower,” McDonald said.

McDonald said the building is outdated. The people who live there are often too hot or too cold due to poor insulation.

“This is my house,” said resident Charlotte Wierzba.

Wierzba has lived at the PCHCC for four years. Although she loves living there, she looks forward to a new center. It’s hard for staff to help people, and that’s not how people want to live.

“We don’t want to share a bathroom with anyone else. If two of us have to go really fast, that could be a problem,” Wierzba said.

The new building would be a single story design, placed in the same location. It will have around 40 beds in total, as well as private bathrooms and showers. The design will also include special palliative care areas and rooms for families.

“These are basic human needs that are not being well met and not only would that bring joy, but it would bring comfort,” McDonald said.

The total cost of the building is about 20 million dollars, they hope to have a first pickaxe about a year and a half after the possible adoption of the referendum in April.

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