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God’s work: West Virginia Caring plans Morgantown hospice heart

MORGANTOWN — There’s an enormous brick constructing at 501 Van Voorhis Street — 48,000 sq. ft or so formed like a large H. 

The signal above the entrance door says “Friendship Manor.”  

Malene Davis calls it “The constructing God picked out.” 

You see, Davis has spent the final 30-plus years working in hospice care. Lately, the registered nurse serves because the president and CEO of West Virginia Caring, previously Hospice Care Corp., which serves 12 counties — mainly overlaying all the things from Flatwoods, north. 

In 2004, the corporate opened a 12-bed inpatient hospice heart in Elkins. The inpatient side made it among the many first of its type in West Virginia, a state in want of extra hospice companies of every kind. 

“In West Virginia there are six hospice facilities,” Davis defined. “Martinsburg, Huntington, Wheeling, Charleston, Beckley and ours in Elkins. Morgantown has by no means had a hospice heart.”  

This regardless of a close to decade-long seek for an acceptable native property. It wanted to be close to the hospitals. It wanted to be simply accessible for households and, most tough, it wanted to be inexpensive. 

Right here’s the place Davis’ prognosis of divine affect comes into play. 

It began throughout an opportunity dialog with a consultant of the Kiwanis Membership of Morgantown, proprietor of the aforementioned brick constructing on Van Voorhis Street.   

The membership operates the constructing as rent-controlled residences for tenants 55 and older. 

Like Davis, the Kiwanians have been in search of one thing very particular — a strategy to get out of the constructing that will permit the membership to uphold its dedication to its mission and its tenants. 

“To be truthful, it’s greater than we are able to deal with proper now. It’s bought no sprinkler system. The roof is over 35 years outdated. We want assist,” longtime member Jim Alexander informed members of the Morgantown Planning Fee again in October. “We might stroll away from this with some huge cash in our pocket and no questions requested … however we made a dedication to our residents.” 

You’ll be able to see the place that is going. 

Alexander mentioned the membership is promoting the property, which is appraised at simply over $3.1 million in accordance with county information, to West Virginia Caring at “an enormous low cost,” to fulfill the wants of each events. 

West Virginia Caring plans to show the third flooring of the constructing into an inpatient hospice heart whereas holding the primary two flooring as they’re, avoid wasting much-needed updating. 

Alexander mentioned the constructing is at the moment at about 50% capability, that means no one might be pressured out.  

Davis mentioned there might be no change in lease prices for tenants. 

However first, the property wanted to be rezoned to be able to serve each multi-family housing and hospice makes use of.   

After some preliminary forwards and backwards, the Morgantown Planning Fee really helpful a swap from PRO (skilled, residential, workplace) to R-3 (multifamily residential). Morgantown Metropolis Council enforced that suggestion.  

Along with the required legislative issues from the town, the undertaking additionally has the help of each hospital programs and the college. 

Brad Phillips, an affiliate dean within the WVU College of Nursing, mentioned some college students are touring as much as three hours round-trip to fulfill nationwide necessities in palliative and hospice care. 

With this facility, he added, “The scholars might actually stroll throughout the road and have that coaching.” 

Ed Phillips, chief authorized officer and basic counsel for Mon Well being, mentioned having such a facility in Morgantown can be a blessing for native households already dealing with a gut-wrenching resolution about end-of-life care. 

“It is a calling,” he mentioned. “It’s God’s work.” 

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