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Home for Aging Is Adding 249 Beds

The $52-million project in Reseda will increase skilled-nursing services by 30% as part of a six-acre residential and research center.

June 04, 2003|Stephanie Stassel | Times Staff Writer

A $52-million construction project at the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging in Reseda will increase the facility's number of skilled-nursing beds by 30%, officials said Tuesday.

The new Residential Medical Center, to be built on six acres at Tampa Boulevard and Sherman Way, will consist of three interconnected buildings.

Two five-story buildings, called the Tower and the Pavilion, will add a total of 249 skilled-nursing beds. About half of them will accommodate patients who will be moved from another building slated for demolition. The buildings also will include a number of dining, visiting and recreation rooms.

The two-story Research Institute will include a psychiatric treatment center, garden terrace, library and computer center, hair salon and crafts room.

Several offices are to be relocated there from other parts of the existing facility, including the Borun Center for Gerontological Research and Education, the Physiology Research Lab and Physical Therapy/Treatment Center and Clinical Geriatric Medical Research.

The project, the largest building effort in the home's 91-year history, will add much-needed space for those requiring skilled-nursing services. Currently, more than 350 people are on a waiting list for one of the home's existing 396 skilled-nursing beds.

"The over-85 group is the largest-growing age group in America, and Los Angeles is no exception," said Molly Forrest, the home's chief executive. "We're growing older and living much longer lives, but not all of us are necessarily able to live at home until the very end. We need to do this for the community and the home."

The 10-bed acute psychiatric center will treat residents, as well as local community members if space is available. Keeping residents in need of psychiatric care on the same grounds, rather than transferring them to a hospital, will be easier for both the patients and their families, Forrest said.

When designing the medical center, architect Jean Mah considered the needs of the residents as well as the nearby community that consists mostly of one- and two-story homes.

"Our challenge was to make the building not look and feel institutional," said Mah, who is with the Los Angeles architectural firm Perkins & Will.

Construction of the facility will begin this winter and is expected to take 18 to 22 months.

Donations from the public are being solicited to pay for building costs. About $20 million has been raised so far, Forrest said.

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