some text
Construction has begun on a new $16.8 million nursing home Life Care Centers of America is building in Dayton, Tenn.

DAYTON, Tenn. - Two years after Life Care Centers of America opened an 89-bed nursing home here in the former Rhea Medical Center, the Cleveland, Tenn.-based company is clearing ground on the north end of Dayton for a new nursing home that also could include an adjacent 30-bed assisted living center.

Beecher Hunter, president of Life Care Centers, said the final cost and schedule for the new facility still are being finalized.

But according to the certificate of need granted for the project in April, the nursing home is projected to cost $16.8 million, not counting the expense of the assisted living center.

Last year, the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency denied the application for building a similar-sized nursing home on 14.5 acres along Manufacturers Road off U.S. Highway 27. Residents and county officials, including former County Executive Billy Ray Patton, said they were concerned about that site's proximity to the railroad and to potential flooding.

Life Care Centers filed a new request in January for the current 16.5-acre site at an "unaddressed site between 9961 and 10529 Rhea County Highway."

Hunter said there's a plan for a 30-unit assisted living facility that Life Care plans to build along with the nursing home. The assisted living center would connect as a separate "wing to the nursing facility," Hunter said.

He said the plan is to build a modern and bigger facility to serve the community.

Last year, Dan Elrod, attorney with Miller & Martin PLLC in Nashville who represented Life Care Center of Rhea County, said the relocation would create 35 jobs for the community.

Hunter didn't specify how many additional jobs the relocation would provide, once the construction's completed. "We anticipate maintaining the associates who currently work for Life Care ... and will hire more associates as needed," he said.

The nursing home has one more year remaining on the lease at the former Rhea Medical Center, Hunter said. The county owns that property, but RMC has full control over the facility, said Ronnie Raper, RMC's Committee Chairman.