New Our Island Home
Where are we and what are the next steps?
It may be useful to refresh memories of what Our Island Home (OIH) is and isn’t. It is a 45-bed skilled nursing facility built in 1980 and it provides an “institutional” model of care. However, the current OIH is not up to industry standards and it is not efficient to operate. These shortcomings, combined with an outdated and failing building, negatively impact residents’ quality of life.
The feedback from the studies and working groups highlighted in previous updates points strongly toward building a new OIH. A wide range of benefits accrue to the community with a new facility. It will allow for flexibility and more space, providing improved quality of life: privacy, dignity, independence and meaningful activity for residents. It will create a more home-like environment with focus on person-centered care, it will replace a failing building with a code compliant facility that will meet the standards of care of Skilled Nursing Facilities for years to come and, importantly, will allow the existing site at 9 E. Creek Road to be repurposed for a new Senior Center.
The Select Board and Finance Committee have unanimously endorsed an article seeking funding for the design of a new facility at the 2022 Annual Town Meeting. If funding is approved in Article 11; and Question 1 of the 2022 Annual Town Election, it will allow Town and OIH staff to finally get to work on designing a new facility, building out the financial model, exploring operating efficiencies and it will allow the Town to secure a design firm and Owner’s Project Manager.
To accomplish the above, voters must approve Article 11 at the Annual Town Meeting on May 2, 2022, and voters must also approve Question 1, a Proposition 2 ½ debt exclusion at the Annual Town Election on May 10, 2022.
If both votes are affirmative, the aspirational timeline is as follows:
- By January 2023: Design firm secured; design development begins
- Winter of 2023/2024: Completion of design phase
- Fall 2023: Department of Public Health Determination of Need application begins
- 2024 or 2025 Annual Town Meeting/Election: Request funds for construction & associated costs of new OIH facility
- Spring/Summer 2027: Anticipated completion of project
A final word on costs:
The funding being sought at the 2022 Annual Town Meeting is for design and project management only. The tax rate impact of an affirmative vote at Annual Town Meeting and Annual Town Election will mean the annual tax bill for a year-round property valued at $1,358,369 and which qualifies for a residential exemption will increase by approximately $20.04 for 20 years.
Preliminary construction estimates are expected to be near $50,000,000 though we expect increased cost precision will be developed in the design phase. Please revisit this page as updates will be provided as they become available.
Impacts on the OIH operating budget are not expected to be material, however, a better understanding of items like energy efficiency gains, synergies with any operational programming with other providers; operations and staffing changes will be developed before construction funds are sought. Again, please revisit this page as additional progress is made.
Many years of study and countless hours of deliberation have brought us to this point and we can confidently say that we have landed upon the best outcome. There are still outstanding questions that need to be answered, but with appropriate funding we will work through them all.
2021 Fall Update The path to a potential new Our Island Home began as early as 2007. An overview of efforts and all related documents to date can be found here.
More recently, efforts have been underway to review and understand what could be done at OIH's current location at East Creek Road.
How did we get here?
At the April 2015 Annual Town Meeting the Town sought authorization for funding to design a new facility. Multiple sites were identified and SMRT Architects, SK Advisors and Rabig Consulting were engaged to conduct a feasibility study and operational review. A great amount of work and review was done by these consultants as well as a second OIH Workgroup (the first being in 2013) and a Building Committee; both formed in December 2016. This work resulted in four Select Board-sponsored articles at the April 2017 Annual Town Meeting to authorize appropriations for design and construction, property acquisition; and, related sewer and zoning changes that would be required to build a new facility adjacent to Sherburne Commons off Miacomet Road. These articles were not approved at Town Meeting with some citing concern that the current location needed a more in-depth review.
In November 2017, the Select Board directed Town Administration to identify a firm to make recommendations on what it would take to build a new facility at the current location, including operational costs and options and construction estimates. This review began in May 2018 with CliftonLarsonAllen, the firm engaged to develop operating cost projections. Subsequently, an architectural/engineering feasibility study began with LWDA Design Architects to focus on what would be required to replace the current facility at the existing East Creek Road site. After gathering stakeholder input, LWDA presented its findings to the Select Board on September 11, 2019. The two studies do not represent a commitment to fund, design and build a new facility on East Creek; rather, they provide information on the issues involved in undertaking such a challenge. This information will be utilized to make an informed decision on how to best proceed with OIH.
At the September 11, 2019 Board meeting, it was noted that the plans and studies are conceptual and if the project moves forward input will continue to be taken from stakeholders and the public. An internal group was organized to start planning efforts for OIH and a facilitator was engaged to help determine consideration factors including facts vs assumptions; core community values; options and possibilities – with associated strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (a so-called SWOT analysis); and, a plan to obtain public input. As a result, six facilitated discussions were held between July and September 2020. One with internal Town of Nantucket staff and the rest with key stakeholders; including OIH residents, family, staff members and senior service providers on the island. On October 14, 2020 a review of these stakeholder forums was presented to the Select Board. Additional facilitated discussion with stakeholder groups, community members, neighbors of the proposed locations and the general public were held January through April 2021. A final report of all stakeholder meetings was provided to the Select Board on May 26, 2021. At its meeting on August 18, 2021, the Select Board voted to proceed with planning a new OIH facility on Town-owned property at Sherburne Commons; to seek design funding at the 2022 Annual Town Meeting; and, to concurrently seek feasibility study funding to evaluate use of the current OIH facility at East Creek Road for a Senior Center (ie, renovation vs new construction). In the fall of 2021, Brenda Johnson was engaged by the Town to assist with public outreach for the new facility. Over the fall and winter of 2021-22, Brenda met with OIH employees, stakeholders, family and residents, and community groups to review the project and continue to gain feedback and input.