By Beth Christian Broschart
The Parsons Advocate
THOMAS – Well-wishers gathered at Cortland Acres Blackwater Short-term Rehabilitation Center in Thomas Friday for an open house showcasing the $3 million expansion which increased the footprint of the facility by 20 percent, adding an 11,000 square-foot wing and larger rehabilitation area.
Cortland Acres Board President Pat A. Nichols welcomed everyone to the grand opening and a history of the facility.
“We have been established since 1978,” Nichols said. “This project began in the 1960s when a group of about 15 people got together and decided they wanted to try and build a nursing home. At that point in time, they had located an acre of ground in Canaan on Cortland Road. They realized after they started that was not going to work.”
Nichols said as a result of their work, Cortland Acres was put on the application.
“It took about 10 years to pursue that dream and one of the original 15 members, Mrs. Donna Andes, is here today,” Nichols said.
“Cortland Acres is basically a 94 bed skilled facility. We have eight garden homes that are located at the southern end of the campus and there is a 24 apartment complex which is located next door. We have the Preston Taylor Clinic on the other end of our campus and we have a brand new pharmacy in the clinic. Next to the clinic is the Medical Specialties Building and the main building,” Nichols said.
“Cortland has about 150 employees and we have strived to serve the need of the patients,” Nichols said. “Over the years, we have served just over 5,000 people that have passed through our doors.”
Nichols said the board and staff believe Cortland Acres is one of the nicest in the state.
“We wanted to show it off today,” Nichols said.
Nichols said the financing to build the addition was financed through Miners and Merchants Bank, Citizens Bank of West Virginia, Mountain Valley Bank and Grant County Bank. “All four banks in the county participated in financing this project, which was a very unique undertaking.”
Beth Clevenger, CEO of Cortland Acres, thanked everyone for coming to share in the celebration.
“We have been talking about this for a long time,” Clevenger said. “It is so nice to see our dream become a reality. We are so anxious to get it open.”
Clevenger said the new rooms offer something for everyone.
“If you are a private person, you have a great private room,” she said. “If you enjoy the outdoors, there is a great window to enjoy the outdoors, along with a patio.”
Clevenger said the inspiration for the unit came from many people standing in the room.
“Our board, past residents and current residents inspired our unit,” Clevenger said. “Some of that inspiration came through general conversations about what folks want as they age. We are going to continue that experience. Now that Blackwater is finished, we are going to begin on Cortland 38 so we will be doing renovations that include private rooms, enhanced dining services and a large gift shop. We are going to make Cortland a more resident-centered place.”
Cortland Director of Operations Dan Bucher said Cortland is a very special place.
“I hope you can sense the passion and the love we have for Cortland in this community,” Bucher said. “Many of you share that with us. We have a big vision for what can happen on this campus to benefit our community. We are just getting started and I hope you will be back for another ribbon cutting soon.”
“What you see today is the result of God’s favor and blessing,” Bucher said. “We acknowledge that the facilities you tour today are a reflection of what He has made possible.”
Pat Kelly, CEO of the West Virginia Health Care Association spoke about aging in West Virginia and Father Timothy Grassi of St. Thomas Catholic Church dedicated the new addition.
Lowell Moore, Tucker County Commission President, said Cortland Acres offers a great service.
“They have done quality work for years,” Moore said. “They take great care of their patients and this is a great asset for our county. This expansion is a step forward and it is a beautiful facility. I have nothing but praise for them. It is a show piece of a facility.”
Tucker County Commissioner Diane Hinkle said Friday’s celebration was great.
“Cortland Acres has had a strong hold in this community since the early 1980s,” Hinkle said. “To see the campus expanding like this is great – it’s great for our senior population, it’s great for our medical community and it’s great for our municipalities and our county. It is a beautiful addition.”
Hinkle said Tucker County is fortunate to have the Cortland community.
“Those needing short term rehabilitation can now enjoy all the comforts of home while receiving top-notch therapy and care. I applaud the progressive, creative approach with the design and layout,” Hinkle said.
“As I look at the crowd gathered today, what strikes me is the number of long time employees who have served Cortland over the past 38 years, Hinkle said. “I see many familiar faces that have taken care of their neighbors, friends, family members and others. Their dedication and quality of care, along with the committed support and cooperation of the administration and board, have allowed Cortland to rise to the standard of excellence they are known for. It’s certainly cause for celebration.”
Tucker County Commissioner Patrick Darlington said Cortland is a great asset to Tucker County.
“Any time you can have any type of medical expansion in the county, especially without having a hospital, it is a great thing,” Darlington said. “It’s great for the county and its citizens. What they are putting together up here is amazing. The facility is amazing and it is something that will benefit Tucker County for many years into the future.”
Darlington said he is excited about the expansion and applauds Cortland.
“They have put a lot of hard work into the facility and we are looking forward to its opening,” he said.
Cortland Acres Board of Directors include Sam Goughnour, Sherm Jarrett, Dorothy Judy, Sarah Minear, Jenny Newland, Pat A. Nichols, Milan Nypl, Bill Phillips, Jarolyn Judy Phillips, Dewey Rice, Mary Sagace and Mark Teets.
Additional information about Cortland Acres Blackwater Short-term Rehabilitation Center is available by calling 304-463-4181 or online at www.cortlandacres.org. Cortland Acres is located at 39 Cortland Acres Lane in Thomas.