Haven plans expansion

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— Four years after opening its doors, The Haven needs a bigger kitchen and dining room.

Lucy Rickman, who is on the 11-member board of directors for the facility, is working on grant applications to help pay for an expansion that officials believe will cost about $180,000.

Rickman is preparing to send off the applications March 1 to foundations that include El Pomar, Johnson and Johnson, United Way and the Yampa Valley Community Foundation.

"We would like to start the project as soon as we get substantial grant money secured," Rickman said. "We have some contingency money available for matching grant funds."

Since the assisted living facility opened in 1996, it has been at or near capacity. The home was built to house 20 residents, who are 55 and older.

"In 2000, we were full," Rickman said. "Right now, we have 18 residents."

Because the facility is always full or almost full of residents, the dining room has become a cramped area during meals.

"The dining room, was designed for 20 people," she said. "But it did not account for wheelchairs and walkers. When we are full it makes it difficult to maneuver."

Peggy Dunning, the director of The Haven, is excited about the prospect of doubling the size of the spaces where meals are prepared and eaten.

"It gets so crowded in the dining room," Dunning said. "We want more room for residents to be able to sit down and enjoy their meals."

Officials want to expand the kitchen because additional space is needed for storage and freezers.

"We have just outgrown it," Rickman said.

The present kitchen does not have enough storage space for food that is bought in bulk.

When the facility gets a delivery, food has to be stored in the kitchen, which sometimes gets in the way of workers preparing food.

The extra room also is needed to be able to move the freezers away from the cooking area. Right now, the heat from the stoves and ovens keeps a nearby freezer from functioning properly.

The board of directors for the nonprofit facility identified the need for the expansion last year.

"There are a lot of things we could do," Rickman said. "But we want this building to function well. We need the space very badly."

Dunning is hopeful the expansion of the building at 300 Shelton Lane can be done this year. Preliminary drawings of the project already have been drawn up, she said.

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