Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

Dane County to Re-Open Bidding Process for New “Green” County Nursing Home

March 05, 2009
Joshua Wescott, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606

Construction of  Geo-Thermal Badger Prairie Health Care Center Will Create up to 200 Jobs

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk said Thursday the county will re-open the bidding process this month for contractors interested in building the new Badger Prairie Health Care Center in Verona.  The construction project will mean up to 200 jobs for the area. 

“This new Badger Prairie is not only the economically and environmentally smart thing to do, it continues Dane County’s commitment to providing high quality care to its citizens most in need,” Falk said.  “This project has the added benefit of making sure a couple hundred families in our area will have paychecks during these uncertain economic times.”

After thorough study, the county decided in 2006 to build a new nursing home just north of the current facility in Verona.  That study found most patients at Badger Prairie have needs too challenging to meet in other nursing home settings.  Cost of relying on other facilities to provide that care would be three to four times more than services currently offered by the county.

In addition to the new, modern nursing home for the county to provide care to its most vulnerable citizens, Badger Prairie will also feature geo-thermal technology to heat and cool the facility and solar domestic hot water system to help furnish hot water.  Falk and the County Board supported this feature through additional dollars for the project put in the 2009 county budget.

“This project brings together what it will take to help get our nation’s economy going again:  creating good paying jobs, and utilizing clean, green sources of energy,” Falk said. 

Geo-thermal technology utilizes thermal energy drawn from wells drilled 300 feet into the earth.  Nearly 100 of those wells will be used at the site of the new Badger Prairie Health Care Center to pull up air from the earth that’s nearly 55 degrees.  The solar panels will heat water used for everything from showers to laundry.  The county is exploring whether the geothermal aspects of the project may make it eligible for federal economic stimulus dollars.

The new nursing home will have a number of additional energy efficiency including “green” roofing, efficient motors to run fans, lighting controls, and other forms of automated controls.  Run-off will also be collected in bio-retention and detention ponds at the site.

Prospective builders will be able to submit bids for the project starting on March 16th with the deadline to bid being on Tuesday, April 21st.  Groundbreaking for the project is expected this June and construction is expected to be complete by mid to late 2010.

The Badger Prairie Health Care Center provides health and long term care for Dane County's older adults and adults with disabilities.  The skilled nursing facility provides specialized services and treatment to adults with behavioral, emotional, or psychiatric disorders that make it impossible for them to live on their own.

Falk also announced Thursday the county has hired Steve Handrich to serve as Badger Prairie Health Care Center Administrator.  Handrich has an extensive background in nursing home administration, serving most recently as Administrator of the Fond du Lac County nursing home.  Prior to that he was the Administrator at the Wisconsin Veterans Home in King for 14 years and was Bureau Director for the state’s Medical Assistance Program.

“Steve’s wealth of experience and knowledge in taking care of people makes him the perfect choice to guide Badger Prairie through this exciting time,” County Human Services Director Lynn Green said.

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