BRATTLEBORO -- The Development Review Board has approved a plan by Holton Home to build a 960-square-foot addition on to the Western Avenue structure.
Holton Home expects to build the two-story addition on to the western side of the residential care home that serves 35 residents.
Holton Home Executive Director Cindy Jerome said the expansion is not being built to allow for more rooms, but rather to create more space for resident mobility and also to increase the living spaces in some units.
"The area we are going to work on has been a problem for a number of years, and while we have addressed many other areas, this has been on our list for a long time," Jerome said. "It feels really good to be finally tackling this section."
Holton Home will be enlarging two rooms on the first floor and two on the second floor, as well as making the hallways larger between those rooms.
Jerome said over the past few decades, as medical options have improved, the residents at Holton Home have moved in with more equipment, such as walkers and oxygen tanks.
Currently there is not enough room for two people with walkers to pass side by side in the area that is going to be renovated.
"These days there are many more services available at home and so people are staying in their homes longer," Jerome said. "People are living longer, and by the time they are ready to move in with us there are more needs. We want our residents to be comfortable when they are here and that is why we are doing this project.
Work on the addition is expected to cost about $296,000. About half of that money has been raised and Jerome said Holton Home will be opening a public appeal in the coming weeks to help raise the rest of the money.
Holton Home has undergone a number of expansions and renovations since it opened in 1897 in a farmhouse on the same parcel where the home is still located at 158 Western Avenue. In 1903 the farmhouse was moved back and the stone Greek Revival building that stands on Western Avenue today was built. In 1982, a few years after emerging from bankruptcy, $100,000 was raised to help build a new elevator, and in 2001 major renovations were done to the original farmhouse. Upgrades were completed on the dining room, kitchen, laundry, activities room and offices. A 10-foot addition was also added on to the building during that project. Seven rooms on the second floor were enlarged in 2006.
"It is important to ease the transition when people move out of the house they have been living on for so many years," Jerome said. "We want them to bring those things that are precious to them. Anything we can do to make it more accessible and more comfortable we want to do. The citizens of Brattleboro built this building to make sure their neighbors had a safe place to come and we want to be good stewards of this building."
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 279, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Howard on Twitter @HowardReformer.