(Clarion, PA) – WRC Senior Services held its official ribbon-cutting and grand-opening ceremony for the brand new Highland Oaks at Water Run in Clarion on Friday, June 3.
Located just off South Fifth Avenue, Highland Oaks at Water Run is the first community to be built on the campus, dubbed Water Run Landing.
It is a three story personal care home with accommodations for 60 residents.
WRC will soon turn its attention to its next building project on the campus The Villas at Water Run, which are residential homes for older adults.
Up to 30 are planned for the location.
Around 75 people attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony, including donors to the project’s capital campaign, board members, key WRC staff, general contractor Poole Anderson Construction, architects Noelker and Hull, engineers CJL Engineering, USDA Rural Development and other key partners.
Clarion County Commissioners Ted Tharan and Wayne Brosius, PA State Rep. Donna Oberlander, PA State Sen. Scott Hutchinson and Congressional Aide Deborah Pontzer for US Congressman Glenn Thompson were also in attendance.
Clarion Boy Scout Troop #51 started the ceremony by presenting the colors and Shannon Shaffer of Knoxdale performed the National Anthem on her trumpet.
Shaffer is a graduate student at Illinois State University.
Pastor Ozy Alvarado of Epicenter, a church in Clarion, and a representative of the Clarion Ministerium offered an invocation after sharing a scripture from the book of Luke.
“A place like this, they’re doing what Jesus would do,” he said. “And it’s taking care of people, loving people and encouraging them. I bless you and thank you.”
WRC President-CEO Barbara Sepich of Brookville then welcomed the attendees.
“In 2010, WRC had a dream,” said Sepich. “It was a dream to create something magnificent to take care of the people of Clarion County. It’s been a long, arduous process and many hours, but today we have the grand-opening of the reality. It’s really here, and we are really, really excited!”
The project first began construction in 2015 with the official groundbreaking on Thursday, May 14, 2015.
Sepich then introduced the Administrator of Highland Oaks at Water Run Faith O’Brien of Strattanville.
“As a lifelong resident of Clarion County, I feel honored and blessed to stand here today as the administrator of Highland Oaks at Water Run,” said O’Brien. “We are so excited to open the doors and provide this service to our seniors of this county.”
O’Brien then called up several WRC board members, the afore-mentioned legislators and WRC staff to cut the ribbon in front of the entrance to the building.
Guests were invited in to tour the building and enjoy a range of appetizers prepared in the new building’s kitchen by Dining Services Director Dennis Snyder.
Highland Oaks at Water Run will replace the current Highland Oaks facility in Shippenville.
Despite having an official ribbon-cutting, the building is not quite ready to admit residents.
“We still have one more step,” said Sepich. “And that step is to get licensure from the Department of Health and Human Services which is our licensing entity. They will not license a building until we are at 75 percent occupancy, so we are in that 30 to 60-day window when they need to come out and do a survey.”
After licensure is granted, WRC will move the 31 residents currently residing at Highland Oaks in Shippenville to the new building, along with the staff.
Highland Oaks at Water Run is taking reservations now for the remaining suites, with 18 already reserved. A reservation can be secured with a $500 fully-refundable deposit by contacting Administrator Faith O’Brien at 814-782-3203.
The majority of the accommodations are studio suites, designed for one occupant. They are 327 square feet and include a kitchenette with microwave, refrigerator, sink and cupboards, bedroom and living area, vanity area and bathroom with walk-in shower.
There are a limited number of flex studio suites, designed for two people, such as a husband and a wife.
After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, WRC Senior Services held a public open house on Sunday, June 5 in the afternoon.
Over 300 people poured into the new building during the two hour event to get their first look at the newest addition to the WRC family.
It was a self-guided tour with WRC staff stationed throughout the building to point out key features.
Retired Clarion University professor Mary Wilson was one of the visitors and was impressed with what she saw. “I like it,” she said. “The colors, the airiness, the space. The rooms don’t feel cramped. The views are beautiful. Just the whole general layout, and the bistro café is great.”
Highland Oaks at Water Run is currently hiring additional staff and is in need of resident aides, dining services assistants and an LPN. Full and part-time opportunities are available.
For more information about Highland Oaks at Water Run, contact O’Brien at 814-782-3203 or [email protected].
For more information about The Villas at Water Run, contact Director Cortney Ortz at 814-849-4131 or [email protected].
To view all the photos from the ribbon-cutting and open house, visit WRC’s Facebook page.
WRC Senior Services has been providing care for older adults in the area for over 125 years. To learn more about WRC, visit www.wrc.org.