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St. Joseph of the Pines breaks ground on $2.5M expansion


Steven Kastner can think of “no better way” for St. Joseph of the Pines to fulfill its mission than by constructing a memory care center for adults with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia.

“Right now, more than one in three older adults in our country die with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, and the number of people with dementia will only grow every year,” said Kastner, president and CEO of the Southern Pines nonprofit.

During groundbreaking ceremonies March 11 for the $2.5 million residential expansion, Kastner asked those assembled to “think of all the people that will be cared for here in our center.”

“They and their families will come here for comfort, healing and hope,” he said. “Our mission calls us to serve together in the spirit of the Gospel as a compassionate and transforming healing presence. I can think of no better way for us all to fulfill this mission than by caring for people and families that suffer from this disease.”

Bishop Michael Burbidge called the new center “an extension of the compassion and healing presence of our Lord.”

“As we break ground, we do it in faith,” said Bishop Burbidge, who blessed the site prior to the groundbreaking. “The sick are a special reflection of Christ himself. When a person is suffering from memory loss, their dignity should be respected and uplifted. We’re all here because we believe in the dignity of every person until the Lord calls them home.... May this new building bring comfort to all who come.”

The 6,950-square-foot addition to The Coventry building includes 10 resident rooms, associated living, dining, kitchen, and activity spaces. Situated adjacent to the Belle Meade Clubhouse, the plan also includes two trellis features and a gazebo that will be constructed on the clubhouse patio.

Four existing apartments in The Coventry will be renovated, and 10 new residences will be constructed as part of the project. When complete, each studio apartment will be about 330 square feet. Common spaces will include a hearth room with a fireplace, a dining room, an activities area, a screened porch and an outdoor courtyard.

“We currently have an Alzheimer’s wing in our Health Center for people in the latter stages of the disease,” Kastner said. “The new wing will be for the early to middle stages, so it will complement that program.”

Kastner said industry statistics show that adults over 85 years old “have a 50 percent chance of having some form of dementia.”

“We’re seeing more and more of that population in our community, as is the rest of the country, because people are living longer,” he said. “We feel this new wing will position St. Joseph of the Pines to better care for those affected by these diseases.”

St. Joseph of the Pines is an aging services network offering a full continuum of retirement housing, health care and community-based services for older adults as well as community outreach to those in need.