The original 1976 vision for Presbyterian Manor included not only the 93-unit apartment complex, but also an “immediate care center” or what we now refer to as the Healthcare center. The concept has always been to provide a continuum of care so that those individuals living in the apartments have a sense of security knowing that there is an attached healthcare center.
Shortly after the apartment complex opening in the fall of 1978, Presbyterian Manor applied for certification through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) for a 53-bed nursing community. One of the first hurdles was presenting to the Health Systems Agency of South East Kansas (HSASEK), where Rev. Thomas Wentz, then president of Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America, and one of the current residents, Mary Allee, spoke.
In a March 8, 1979, article published by the Arkansas City Traveler, which covered the hearing, the article quoted Mary stating it was important to her to know that a nursing community would be available to her should she ever need it. She wanted to remain where her friends were. Their presentation hit home, and the HSASEK committee approved Presbyterian Manor’s request, which led to the official certification with KDHE.
The groundbreaking ceremony was Sunday, June 3, 1979. Former Gov. Robert Docking was the featured speaker at the ceremony. In a June 4, 1979, article published by the Arkansas City Traveler, Docking said that day “commemorates a constructive idea that will bring positive, healthful and enjoyable benefits for many years to come.” He went on to say the residents of Arkansas City believed there was a need for alternative housing arrangements, which Presbyterian Manors has fulfilled. The addition of the healthcare center would give the “added benefit of long term care” when those individuals would need it.
Originally, the healthcare center included 53 beds in three separate wings, with only three private rooms, a dining room, activity space, a therapy room and a beauty shop. The healthcare construction was completed in May 1980 and soon began admitting residents. In the late fall of 1984, the healthcare center was averaging 95 percent occupancy, however, it noted a need for additional private rooms. A campaign fund drive was established to not only add the west wing of healthcare with eight private rooms, but to expand the activities and dining space.
In September 1985, S. Andrew Swoyer, chairman of Presbyterian Manor's Advisory committee, and Otis Morrow, chairman of the expansion campaign, took turns breaking the ground for the healthcare addition. The construction included the addition of eight private rooms and expanded the dining room to accommodate additional residents.
Connie Bruner, housekeeper supervisor, recalls that census has always been high even when she started in January 1984 and at that time there was a long waiting list for private rooms.
“The residents were extremely excited for more private rooms and that the new [private rooms] were bigger than the existing [private rooms],” Bruner said.
The new private rooms were designed for two residents in case there was ever a need, however, Presbyterian Manor has never utilized them in that capacity.
One of the existing private rooms was repurposed into a “quiet room” to meet regulatory requirements and to accommodate some additional office space. After construction was complete, Presbyterian Manor’s Healthcare center had a capacity of 60 beds, 10 of which are private rooms. The new wing was completed, and a ribbon cutting was held in June 1986.
Then current resident Bill Bricker, who was nearly 101, had the honor of cutting the ribbon. Even with the increase in private rooms at the time, the demand for a private room is still high and Presbyterian Manor continues to manage a wait list for them.