The Culpeper welcomed its residents and the community to its new state-of-the-art facility during a grand opening hosted by multiple chambers of commerce Friday.
The grand opening of the $33.5 million, 125,000-square-foot project is scheduled two years to the day of the groundbreaking.
The new building replaces the original brick structure built in the1940s and faces the Blue Ridge Mountains. Residents in the current building transitioned to the new building at the beginning of May.
Rose Meeks Wallace, Director of Marketing for The Culpeper, pointed out that The Culpeper is a true five-star continuing care retirement community, licensed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Only 20 percent of nursing homes in America are rated five stars, and The Culpeper is the only one within a 50-mile radius that is able to say that.
“In our rich 70 year history, with growth, transition and some changes, it has become evident that The Culpeper is a magical place,” Wallace said. “So magical in fact, that we can show you our past and at the exact same time show you our future.”
The Culpeper Executive Director Jim Jacobsen pointed out that preserving the history of the organization.
The brainchild of Culpeper Baptist Church pastor Dr. James Thomas Edwards in 1931, The Culpeper opened in 1948 at the Milliman House in Culpeper. In 1946, 98 acres of land was purchased and in April 1951 the current location was opened. Now 70 years old, it was time to upgrade - but they wanted to be able to keep the rich history alive. They incorporated many familiar aspects of the old building - including a heritage wall as soon as you enter the front of the new building.
“God has seen fit to have you be an integral part of a human bridge that is spanning between the structure that has been our incredible journey and served us well for over 70 years and our future as we build for tomorrow,” Wallace said during the grand unveiling of the property.
Virginia Sen. Bryce Reeves and U.S. Senator Mark Wallace presented flags to The Culpeper. The flags Reeves presented flew at the state capitol in Richmond and were hoisted at The Culpeper Friday afternoon.
“The flag has a special meaning especially to those who have worn the cloth of the country, it represents freedom and liberty around the world,” Reeves said. “We truly have the opportunity to stand for something in this country - for freedom, for fairness and for liberty. These are the things worth fighting for.”
The flag Warner presented will be displayed in the front of the new building.
“There are remarkable things continuing to go on across our Commonwealth and in communities all around Virginia and all around America,” Warner said. “To see this kind of facility that is built, we live in an age where we haven’t seen yet the full impact of the Baby Boomers as they hit retirement. One of the things we need to do a better job, and what you’ve built and constructed here, is not just a facility but a community.”
Jacobsen welcomed the community to the new building and praised the effort that went into moving the residents over to the new facility.
“Last week was very exciting as our volunteers, staff, family members and residents made the transition,” Jacobsen said. “The transition was flawless.”
Jonathan Cook, CEO, Lifespire of Virginia, told a story about Hunter Riggins - board chair for Virginia Baptist Homes - who wrote a letter in 1979. Riggins pointed out two key issues he had - one of them that they relied too heavily on entry fees for operations and the second - that they had an aging asset in Culpeper.
“I believe we’ve got our use out of that aging asset,” Cook said. “I wish Hunter could be here today because I wanted to tell him we are no longer reliant on entry fees to support operations and we do not have an aging asset.
Resident Sara Gallagher, who lives in the cottage on the property, said she was excited to see her neighbors move into their new home.
“It’s wonderful,” Gallagher said. “I don’t regret a minute I’ve come here.”
The old facility will be razed come Fall, opening up a new view for residents to be able to see the Blue Ridge Mountains.
There are 133 units at The Culpeper with a wait list that’s truly impressive. Wallace said there is a priority membership list that has close to 40 people on it and they are actively working with about 300 people.
“We have become a destination community,” Wallace said. “We’re off the I-95 corridor and we are also the eighth growing spot in Virginia. We have residents who move here whose children live in Northern Virginia.”
For more information, contact The Culpeper’s marketing office at (540) 825-2411.