Current members from 80-year-old facility moved into new senior living community April 2
A celebratory crowd of employees, board members, employees, friends, dignitaries and contractors were on hand at the brand-new Peabody Place to gather, tell stories and raise a glass to the completion of phase one of an ambitious renovation project. The formal ceremony took place on Thursday, March 31 and less than two days later, all members of the 1940’s era former Peabody Home began moving as the inaugural first members of Peabody Place.
“The work here started 80 years ago when four ladies bought the property and had a vision,” said John Benham, a long-time board member and volunteer who chairs the building committee. “The board had a vision for the new Peabody Place, which we have been working towards for the past six to eight years, with the understanding that we had to continue what started 80 years ago. Now, we’re ready for another 80 years.”
Peabody Place is pet-welcoming and features well-appointed apartments with private bathrooms, oversized windows and unique views of the Winnipesauke River. Amenities include common space for gathering on all floors, a 24-hour emergency response system, memory care services, apartments in a dedicated section of the building, personal transportation services, a beauty and barber shop, an exercise and wellness room and easy access to downtown Franklin.
“This home may be new but it’s a continuation of the work of many generations,” said Chris Seufert, who chairs the Peabody Place Board of Directors. “We would not be here today without the great work of our contractors, engineers and architects or without the many city officials and others who had a vision. It does take a village and a village can make a dream become a reality. You all dreamed big, and it is exciting to welcome residents into the new living space.”
Over 50 special guests attended the ribbon cutting ceremony on the afternoon of March 31 and enjoyed the remarks, a champagne toast, first-peak tours of the finished space and a sampling of the high-quality cuisine that is available to Peabody Place members. The following Saturday, dozens of volunteers helped move the current members living in the old building a few hundred yards into their new homes.
Franklin Mayor Jo Brown recalled old memories of playing the grand piano with her grandmother in the old building and on how the new Peabody Place embraces a forward of senior care. “I want to thank Executive Director Howie Chandler for moving the focus away from a nursing-focused medical facility and towards a whole person inclusive community of people that are coming in. The Peabody team is at the forefront on this,” she said.
The first phase of the project is now completed and is dedicated to individuals interested in an assisted living environment. Upon completion of phase two, the 63,632 square foot Peabody Place will more than double its original capacity and will include 45 assisted living apartments, 13 memory care apartments and 16 independent living apartments.
Funding totaling $26 million was approved through the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development’s Community Facilities Direct Loan & Grant Program in November 2020.
“New Hampshire and Vermont have two of the highest median ages,” said Eric Law, rural development community program director for the N.H./Vt. region of the USDA. “Our communities need quality, affordable elderly care and Peabody Place is a prime example of that. On behalf of USDA Secretary Vilsack, I want to congratulate you all. From your USDA, a sincere congratulations.”
The building was designed and built by EGA P.C. Engelberth Construction and the engineering work is being conducted by Nobis Engineering, both of Concord, N.H. Advisory work is being provided by New Hampshire-based RS Consulting and North Country and the Northern Community Investment Corporation, in St. Johnsbury, Vt.
Engelberth CEO Pierre Leblanc was also on hand for the ribbon cutting. “We built this new building through the pandemic and I’m so proud of everyone here. Our team and the many subcontractors that worked with us faced challenges, labor shortages and more to get to this point. It was pretty incredible to see everyone persevere. Now we’re going to go to locker room and regroup and kick the next phase into gear,” he said.
The original building will be torn down in mid-April to make room for phase two. This will include constructing a new independent living facility on that location. Both phases are being integrated into a single three-story building that features a granite and brick façade and large manor windows. Phase two is expected to be completed in late 2022.
Photo courtesy of Peabody Place. Photo caption (left to right) Franklin Mayor Jo Brown, Peabody Place Chair of the Board of Directors Chris Seufert and Engelberth CEO Pierre LeBlanc at Peabody Place ribbon cutting ceremony on March 31, 2022.