Timeline – decisions made for the present Our Island Home

In March 1975 the town was ordered to correct 26 deficiencies in the original OIH building or lose Medicare and Medicaid funds. It appeared from the list of deficiencies that the woodenbuilding could not be altered to meet the requirements, and it would be necessary to build a new facility.

Special Town Meeting, April 1, 1975, Article 14: To requestBOS to appoint a committee “to determine the present andfuture needs of this facility (OIH)” and to appropriate $2,000 for the committee’s necessary expenses.

Nov. 1975: Town considering applying to HUD for grant to 1.“rehabilitate” the wooden building: 2. Build a new facility; or 3. Move OIH to the hospital. 30 residents at present with 19 on waiting list. Estimated $16,000 per bed to build a new facility. Over a million dollars. HUD grants capped at $100,000. Town would have to come up with the rest.

Dec. 1975: OIH Study Committee recommends 60-bed facility with potential to expand to 100 beds. Selectman Esther Gibbs said that “if a new building is to be built, it should be in the area of the present DPW garage buildings.” Gerald O’Hara, chairman of the study committee agreed that this was the ideal site. Two parties (contractor and architect) with interest in building new facility. Nantucket Cottage Hospital also considering adding an extended care facility to replace OIH.

At OIH open house in Feb. 1976, residents polled by I&M about how they felt about having the hospital replace OIH with an extended care facility. Universally negative reaction. Among quotes: “people who have lived near the ocean all their lives don’t lose that love of it in their old age.” “Everybody likes the view here and the fresh air off the ocean. Here we have a beautiful view of the Creeks.” “Here we have lovely fresh air, a view of the ocean. In the summer we sit on the piazza. Even the crippled are pushed out in wheelchairs. It’s something to see. What will we have up there? [At the site of NCH] Nothing to see!” “I don’t intend to go up there (to NCH). I don’t want to look out at a graveyard. We all get there soon enough!” “This is just an ideal place. We have lovely rooms, plenty of air.” “I would like to see them build it out there (pointing at the DPW site). I like to see the harbor. We would not have such a good view at the hospital.” “Here I live under the window. I love it! I can see them out sailing, fishing, scalloping. I enjoy watching the DPW with those funny-looking vehicles. They tried to move me over to the other side of the building once, but I enjoy living here.” “My room looks out over the harbor and is most pleasant most of the day. I can see Brant Point light and the wharves and all the activities of the harbor.” “The desire of all the residents and staff of the institution is that a new building in this site will, in all ways and in the end prove to be the best solution of this very important current Nantucket problem.”

One concern: a new building would contain few, if any, single rooms SINCE STATE AID IS OFFERED ONLY FOR MULTI- OCCUPANCY ROOMS. !!! Expressed fear by residents that at a Nantucket Cottage Hospital facility they would be housed four or five to a room. “On one hand, sources point to the mental well-being of the residents of Our Island Home and stress the importance of providing them with a pleasant environment near the harbor which they seem to love so well. ‘These people are not just staying at this facility for a short visit,’ they point out. ‘ This is home!’ But the other side of the coin indicates that it will be financially wiser to move the town out of the nursing home business which seems to be the recommendation of at least some members of the Finance Committee.”

Sept. 1976: OIH files an application for a Determination of Need to build a new long-term care facility with 45 beds.

March 1977: Architect presents plan for new facility to replace the wooden OIH building. “The new 45-bed facility will be constructed behind the site of the present facility.” (Two patient wings and plans for an expansion to create a third one.) “…construction could begin as early as next fall with the facility ready for occupancy in 1978.” Plans presented to HDC. For months issuance of the necessary Certificate of Need held up by state, threatening federal deadline for grant proposal.

Sept. 1977: Town seeking variance to relocate DPW buildings to Madaket Road near landfill. Precipitated by proposed construction of new OIH facility at DPW’s present location.

March 1978: Certificate of Need finally issued. Then problem with architect’s plans, cost overrun.

April 1978: Town votes to build new OIH facility even if it fails to get federal or state funds to do so. Turning it over to hospital seen as a bad move. “The feeling of the patients is very much against going with the hospital. They feel it would be detrimental to their health and happiness.”

August 1978 Special Town Meeting: vote to build new OIH on Orange Street site. Bucked pressure to become part of the hospital, thereby releasing the land on the harbor for development. New architect hired.

Dec. 1978: Town receives one million dollars from HUD for OIH. Total cost estimated at $1.6 million.,

May 1979: DPW buildings moved off site.

Sept. 1979: bidding for construction work begun

Jan. 1980: Special Town Meeting: Voters go against FinCom recommendation, approve OIH appropriation

April 1980: Groundbreaking on new OIH building

May 1980: BOS discusses purchase of abutting property of Susan Cashman Foote between new OIH building and the edge of the marsh to preserve the view of the harbor for OIH residents. Peg Kelley had right to first refusal. Fear that someone else will purchase the land and build a large house. Possibility that NCF might buy the land.

Dec. 1980: OIH construction expected to be completed on schedule.

July 1981: New OIH open house.

August 1981: Dedication of new OIH building. Dedicated to all the townspeople of Nantucket. Ended up costing $2.4 million, built in 16 months. Physical therapy center with a Century whirlpool unit. (Whatever became of that?) Residents choosing who to share rooms with. Wooden building had single rooms. New facility will have shared rooms.

Sept. 1981: OIH residents move into new building.

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