Two years after winning village approval of its plans, the Scottish Home in North Riverside will soon begin construction of an assisted care facility for seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

On Tuesday morning, North Riverside Mayor Hubert Hermanek Jr., Illinois St. Andrew Society President Gus Noble and the project’s benefactor, Barry MacLean, participated in a ceremonial groundbreaking for Caledonian House, which Noble describes as “best-in-class memory care in a non-institutional setting.”

“In our neck of the woods, it’s the only one of its kind,” said Noble about Caledonian House, which endeavors to create a true sense of “home” for its residents.

The two-story building takes its architectural cues from residential buildings in Scotland and the Midwest, said Noble, and will accommodate a maximum of 24 people whose one-bedroom units ring a central living area and kitchen area.

“We wanted to make the building feel and function as a house in almost every way,” Noble added. “It’s designed to be a home and look like a home both externally and internally.”

Each floor will include 12 housing units, a library/guest area and the communal living spaces. The plan intentionally stays away from the traditional institutional setting, where rooms open off long corridors.

“This is going to be home; it’s not going to be ‘like home,'” Noble said. 

The Scottish Home announced its plans to build the $5.5 million Caledonian House back in early 2013 and received a pair of zoning variances from the village of North Riverside to construct the building on its campus at 2800 Desplaines Ave. The variances allow the building to be 45 feet tall and allow more than one building on the lot.

The new building will be constructed to the northwest of the main Scottish Home facility, which was built in 1917 and expanded in the 1960s and 1990s.

Since 2013, the Illinois St. Andrew Society, which operates The Scottish Home, has been privately raising money for the project. According to Noble, it was a “transformational” gift from MacLean that has allowed the society to move ahead with construction of Caledonian House.

MacLean, president and CEO of the Mundelein-based manufacturing company MacLean-Fogg, has long been involved with the St. Andrew Society and was a benefactor for the Scottish Home expansion in the 1990s.

Several years ago, the society awarded MacLean its highest honor, the Distinguished Citizen Award.

“He’s a passionate advocate for funding a cure for and finding effective ways of treating people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia,” Noble said.

At just about the halfway point in fundraising, Noble said the society will now roll out the public phase of the capital campaign to those in the Scottish community and local communities.

In addition, the Illinois St. Andrew Society is finalizing a partnership with an academic institution to have Caledonian House serve as a resource for the advancement of treatment for people suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Noble said the society is in the final stages of awarding construction bids and that he hoped work might begin within two months. Once construction commences, Noble said the building could be finished and operating within 12 months.