New assisted living
Caring Hands being built across from High School
By Mark Sherry
Mark Sherry photo
Construction is well under way on Caring Hands Assisted Living in New Holstein, with a late summer or early fall scheduled opening. The facility is located along CTH H across from the High School.
An architect’s drawing shows how Caring Hands Assisted Living will look from the west toward the main entrance.

New Holstein’s biggest piece of progress for 2015 might come as a bit of a surprise for the many people passing through the city on STH 32/57—and perhaps even for some city residents.

For those people who do not have occasion to travel west out of the city on CTH H, they do not see the large, new building springing up on top of the hill across from the High School. Over the past few months, more than one local resident has no doubt driven by for the first time and said, “Where did that come from?”

The “that” is Caring Hands Assisted Living, a new 20-unit assisted living facility which should open by late summer or early fall. The building which is going up might be just the start of development in that area which also could include additional wings on that building and a series of cottages or condominiums just to the north.

Caring Hands Assisted Living is being developed by a somewhat unlikely duo— two relatively young men, one who has made his living in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning field, the other as a farmer in the area.

Caring Hands owners

Sean Steffes is the former and Tom Steffen is the latter. Sean explained that the idea for Caring Hands came in part from friends and customers who own assisted living facilities. In addition, as co-owner of Advanced Custom Geothermal in Kiel, Steffes has done HVAC work for assisted living facilities throughout the region and has talked to owners and administrators of those facilities. He also said he hears people say they want a higher quality, locally owned place for family members to stay.

“There’s a big demand for it,” Steffes said of assisted living. As the Baby Boomer generation continues to age and as people continue to live longer and focus on remaining healthier later in life, there should be at least a significant period of time in which the services offered by assisted living facilities are attractive to a large percentage of the population.

Steffes said as he explored the possibility of building an assisted living facility there seemed to be significant interest from New Holstein’s residents and city officials. He said the city has been good to work with and has helped make the land available on which Caring Hands is being constructed.

While it took a little longer than expected for construction to begin, once it got started late last fall it has progressed rapidly. Goebel Builders is the general contractor on the project, although Steffes has been hands-on at the site with his background in the trades. Caring Hands residents will indeed be warmed in winter and cooled in the summer by a geothermal system.

A steel roof which looks like shingles is already in place, siding is going on, and the interior electric and plumbing are installed.

Steffes said there will be two wings to the building when it opens later this year. A unit on the end of each wing will be a suite allowing for double occupancy so that roughly 24 people will be able to call Caring Hands their home. If those wings fill up and a waiting list begins to grow, Steffes said the layout of the building will allow for one or two more wings to be added without disruption to the daily activities of the facility.

Steffes also said the location and the newness of Caring Hands will be strong selling points in the area’s competitive field of assisted living facilities. “We’re trying to build a facility that’s more appealing to come here,” he said. “We wanted to make a warmer environment and have more amenities in the building for residents.... Being a newer facility I think we’ll have a lot more things to offer at the same price” as other area facilities.

He said the location is attractive for a lot of reasons. Residents will be able to sit outside and watch the activities at the High School athletic fields, or sit on another side of the building and enjoy a picturesque rural setting—yet still be on the edge of a city with all its conveniences, including the grocery store within eyesight of Caring Hands. Having the High School/Middle School right across the street could also create synergies with students visiting residents and putting on programs at the facility. An activities coordinator will help arrange such things, Steffes said.

Will employ about 20

Caring Hands is likely to employ around 20 people, including having a nurse either in the building or on call at all times, as well as a director of the facility. Steffes said some of those employees are already lined up and are ready to come to work for Caring Hands as soon as it is ready to open. Applications are already being taken for both employees and residents by calling Steffes at (920) 375-0638.

Steffes said he and his business partner will continue to be hands-on owners once Caring Hands opens. If things are going well by next summer, work could commence on an additional four-acre parcel which could house independent living units either in the form of cottages or condominiums. Residents of those buildings would be welcome to come over to Caring Hands to enjoy activities and other amenities of the building, Steffes said.

Coming into Caring Hands from the west facing main entrance, residents and visitors will be able to enjoy amenities such as a sun room, a large open/dining area, a memory garden, and more.

Take an occasional drive out on CTH H and check out progress on New Holstein’s biggest piece of progress so far in 2015.