Guardian Angels completes memory care wing






by Joni Astrup

Associate editor

Seven months after construction began on a new two-story memory care wing at Guardian Angels By The Lake in Elk River, the building is completed.

A grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony were held Tuesday, May 15. Guardian Angels’ chaplain, Margaret Quill, also offered a blessing on the facility, staff and residents.

“In times like these, we pause to thank God and to celebrate the completion of this building — the triumph of love over fear, of caring over indifference and the collaboration of so many over competition in the world we live in. Help us as we listen to Your voice, inviting us to bring out the best in one another, in service to others,” she prayed.

The new $3.5 million wing consists of two memory care units, each about 13,000 square feet in size and containing 15 apartments, according to Guardian Angels President and CEO Dan Dixon.

The apartments are around the outside, with common areas like the dining room in the center. There is a sitting room with a fireplace on each of the two floors, as well as other touches of home. There also is a spa with a whirlpool.

Ward Isaacson, architect for the project from Pope Architects, commended Guardian Angels officials for being progressive in their thinking. “This really is kind of a new concept. You don’t see any double loaded corridors with rooms (on both sides), you don’t see equipment sitting out in the middle of the hallway, you don’t see a nurse station with people sitting around it. It’s a home, is what we’re trying to create here,” Isaacson said.

Pope Architects designed the building and Kraus-Anderson was the contractor on the project.

Jim Bartz, vice president of Guardian Angels, cited the Fourth Commandment.

“We are to honor our father and mother, and that’s not just our personal father and mother but it is all fathers and mothers,” he said during the grand opening. “That charge is that we would not just do it if they know what’s going on, it’s not just if they would appreciate what we’re doing for them and it’s not just if the job is easy. This command is just to do it. That’s what we’re here to do is to just do it, and to do it cheerfully.”

Annette Greely, director for Guardian Angels By The Lake, thanked her staff. “We’re all committed to making sure that this is people’s homes, and that we’re serving our seniors,” she said.

Guardian Angels by the Lake is located by Lake Orono, at 13439 185th Lane.

Guardian Angels traces its roots to 1962. Today Guardian Angels employs more than 450 people and last year served 2,500 people, from skilled care to independent housing, Dixon said.