The Free Press, Mankato, MN

March 9, 2014

VINE adult center is taking shape

Pool among parts that will wait for funding

By Robb Murray
rmurray@mankatofreepress.com

---- — It's safe to say the new VINE Faith in Action building is right on track.

Much of the project remains unfinished, but VINE officials predict the nonprofits they're renting space from will be in the building by May with the rest to follow by summertime. Fundraising continues with roughly half of the $6 million they need to cover the cost of the project collected so far.

VINE has given progress tours to invitees where they explain the internal workings of the new building and then remind people they're still raising money and that paver bricks are available to help cover costs.

"Never on this tour will you hear us utter the 'S' word," said Pam Determan, VINE's executive director. "We don't like labels. Our preference is 'experienced adults.'"

If you haven't been inside what used to be called the Nichols Office Building in a while, you'd never recognize the place. Drywall, fresh paint and a fresh vision for the building have taken over.

While it's hard to envision it now, the tour takes visitors through every floor and explains what will happen and where. There will be choir, yoga, craft and game rooms with much more space than the existing Summit Center.

"It's so much bigger than what they've got now," said Greg White, VINE's Chore Program manager. "It'll be nice for them."

The facility, which for now is being called VINE Adult Community Center, will include classroom space for events such as AARP's driver's education classes. A respite care center will complement VINE's Some Time Away program, which allows caregivers to drop off people who need constant care for a few hours.

Not all of the builiding's available space will be upgraded immediately. Some areas, such as the entire fifth floor and the pool, will wait until the rest of the money can be raised.

Use of the facility will be based on memberships. Final rates have not been set, but Determan predicts monthly rates of $33 for individuals aged 62 and over, and $50 for couples.

White said they've tried to save money wherever they could. They sold a generator they didn't need for $23,000. They were able to reuse windows and light fixtures, a move that saved tens of thousands of dollars. Metals were recycled. Office furniture in some cases was purchased on the cheap, including an $8 couch for a waiting area.