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LIFE Project Gets New Life

Todd PittengerFebruary 22, 2022

Funding is secured for the construction of the proposed Logan Intergenerational Facility, known as the LIFE project.

According to the The Dane G. Hansen Foundation, the project is a unique conceptual idea that will integrate several community facilities into one structure. The basic elements of this facility include a new 36-bed nursing home, a new Pre-K through 4th grade elementary school, a new gymnasium with associated locker room complex (which will also serve as a community storm shelter), a weight room and wellness facility which would be open and available to the public, a community room and gathering place, all of which will be connected to the existing high school building via an indoor corridor. All elements of the facility will allow residents from the nursing home to attend events and participate in school functions and activities, including a special music room designed to allow the residents to watch and listen to band or music practices. Finally, the new facility will be located immediately adjacent to Logan’s child care facility, making for a unique, one-of-a-kind intergenerational “campus” located in the heart of rural America.

Both the existing nursing home and elementary school are old buildings and need significant repair or replacement.  By combining the two, the planning team believes the intergenerational nature of the facility will be advantageous to young and old alike.

Additional benefits will be the opportunity to restructure the Manor to better meet the needs of today’s senior population. The modern “small house” design will be more homelike, providing private rooms, a centralized home-style kitchen in each 12-room pod, better internet access, etc. The residents will also be able to head down to the gym to watch ballgames, watch band/music practice, attend special senior exercise classes or simply watch children playing on the playground without leaving the building. Likewise, the children can visit the senior residents, forming important relationships that may be harder to come by with families often living farther from grandparents.

The LIFE project is designed to be a huge boost for Logan, where Dane G. Hansen was born and lived his entire life. At his death in 1965, He created a trust for his hometown of Logan and the surrounding Northwest Kansas community.

The trust became the Dane G. Hansen Foundation. Grants from the foundation are awarded in 26 counties. The main office remains in Logan. The Trustees consider Mr. Hansen’s own actions and final requests when they review grant requests small and large. They believe this project to be both a way to honor Mr. Hansen, and also a way to recognize his testamentary desire to specifically benefit the town of Logan.

The LIFE project has been in the works for nearly six years. It was announced to the public in 2019, just prior to news about one of the major health concerns of our time. Like many things, the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically altered the fundraising and timeline for the project.

As the pandemic endured, the facilities continued to decline and the need for replacing them only magnified. Had the new facility been in existence pre-pandemic, it would have been possible to quarantine certain pods of residents, without isolating an entire facility. Even in a total lockdown scenario, there would have been far more flexibility in allowing the residents to see and observe children playing and allowing them to engage in “window” interactions from the safe confines of their rooms.

The pandemic and related supply chain challenges has also meant that construction costs have increased significantly. The estimated cost of the project has risen to approximately $18 million. Traditional sources of funding from a variety of other charitable foundations also ground to a halt.

With all these challenges and considerations, the Dane G. Hansen Foundation Trustees recently voted to drastically alter the original challenge grant of $7.5 million that was to be matched from the community and other sources to cover what was originally estimated to be a $15 million facility. The community had set a local fundraising goal of $1 million, with the hopes that other charitable organizations would help make up the remainder of the challenge grant. Those efforts resulted in more than $450,000 being raised thus far.

In light of all that has transpired, the Dane G. Hansen Foundation has agreed that if the local fundraising match of $1 million can be reached, it will cover all remaining costs of the facility so that design plans can be finished, and a construction schedule can commence.

“We are hearing from local residents that they want to contribute but have been waiting to see if the project is really moving forward,” said Hansen Trustee Brien Stockman. “The board wants to ensure the project will happen and have voted to cover the construction costs. The local campaign will provide for various interior furnishings and finishes for the project.”

The Trustees hope that fundraising can again begin in earnest with this announcement.  There will be opportunities for donors to have naming rights for spaces as well as the ability for smaller donations to be recognized. All fundraising for the LIFE Project is being coordinated by a fundraising committee working with the Logan Community Development Foundation, Inc. (“LCDF”)

For more information on the project, or to make a donation or major gift to the campaign, please contact Max Lowry, President of LCDF, at (785) 689-8333 or email the Foundation at [email protected]. Donations can also be made through the LIFE Project website at www.loganlifecenter.com.

Copyright © Meridian Media, 2022. All Rights Reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced without Meridian Media’s express consent.

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