GLENVILLE — A quick look at Glendale nursing home on Hetcheltown Road in Glenville, you might question why it’s being torn down for a new one. But those who run the facility said the building is actually falling apart inside.
“Its systems have deteriorated, the heating system, the water,” said Schenectady County Legislator Karen Johnson who chairs the Glendale Nursing Home Committee.
Plus Johnson said, it was cheaper to build new instead of a complete renovation. And the county also wanted a new concept where the facility would look and feel more like a private home instead of an institution. Lawmakers called a special meeting to approve the awarding of the contracts for the project Monday night. They heard from contractors and engineers who presented the final plans of the new building. The cost was estimated at $40 million. The bids came in $6 million under budget.
“I have been against us spending this kind of money now for a number of years because it isn’t needed,” said Legislator Jim Buhrmaster.
Buhrmaster is the lone Republican in the county legislature. He said private sector nursing homes are already taking care of the elderly. He voted down the approval along with the only Conservative in the 15 member body. Buhrmaster said Glendale was reduced from more than 500 beds to 186 beds and has also been losing money for years.
“The last two audits, ’09 and ’10, somewhere around $10 million, $11 million each year. That’s unsustainable. We can’t keep doing that,” Buhrmaster said.
Critics said many surrounding counties are bailing out of the nursing home business, including Montgomery and Fulton. They said Schenectady County should be doing the same thing.
However, the majority of lawmakers don’t see it that way. Johnson said while the private sector is fine, some people have trouble getting a bed there. She said the county is not a business. It’s providing a service that’s badly needed as baby boomers continue to age and live longer.
“It’s been a long effort to try and replace the nursing home. We feel very strongly that part of our role is to take care of our seniors when they need this kind of assistance,” Johnson said.