The Scottish Home in North Riverside will soon take the capital campaign to fund its new Caledonian House public, but the project is already well under way and ought to be open and caring for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia sometime this summer.
Gus Noble, president of the Chicago Scots, which operates the Scottish Home, said the organization has raised about $4 million of the $7 million goal set in 2013, when the project was first announced.
About $5.5 million of the total goal is targeted for paying the cost for constructing the Caledonian House. The remainder is to support the Chicago Scots, formerly known as the Illinois Saint Andrew Society.
“We’re still approaching major donors, but we’re about to start the public face of the campaign,” said Noble during a tour of the Caledonian House now well under construction on the campus of the Scottish Home, which was built in the forested area just west of Desplaines Avenue on 28th Street in 1917.
Chicago Scots have hired a marketing director to lead outreach efforts, which will include events and open houses as summer approaches.
In past years, the society that operates Scottish Home has maintained a pretty low profile for its signature charity. Noble calls the home, which provides assisted living and nursing services for the elderly, a place “hidden in the woods, like Brigadoon.”
“But it’s time we were no longer the Chicago suburbs’ best-kept secret,” Noble said.
The opening of the Caledonian House, which is being billed as best-in-class, resident-focused memory care facility, will be a central feature of the Scottish Home’s coming-out party later this year.
Unlike traditional nursing facilities, the Caledonian House, is arranged as a “home” setting. Resident rooms don’t open onto long corridors. Instead, they open onto a shared living area that features a sitting area, dining area and open kitchen.
There will be 10 resident rooms to each of the Caledonian House’s two floors, each floor serving as a separate “house,” according to Noble. One of two floors is being dubbed the Barry MacLean House in honor of the president and CEO of MacLean Fogg and former board chairman of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago who has donated $1.5 million toward the Caledonian House. MacLean’s wife suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.
Staff members at the Caledonian House will be cross-trained to provide nursing, foodservice and housekeeping duties instead of having a different person for each task.
That, according to Noble, will lend to the familial atmosphere. Staff and residents, along with their guests will eat meals together at a central dining room table (made, Noble said, from lumber cut from white oak trees that were sacrificed to build Caledonian House).
Meals will be prepared in the same central living area in an open kitchen. Institutional areas, storage, etc., will be invisible to residents.
The frame of the building, which has been under construction since June 2015, is largely complete, including the red shingled roof. Eventually they violet gypsum board now covering the framing will be sheathed in a half-timber and stone veneer that will give the building a homier look.
One of the inspirations for the exterior design, said Noble, is the clubhouse at the Muirfield Golf Course in Scotland. Inside, the décor is going to be “Mackintosh meets the Midwest,” said Noble, referring to the renowned Scottish architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
“We’re not going for ‘home-like,'” said Noble. “We’re going for home.”
Noble also announced a new partnership between the Scottish Home and Concordia University Chicago, which has a graduate degree program in gerontology.
“We’ll be working with them to ensure our claim that it’s best-in-class memory care holds true,” Noble said. “I’m excited about that partnership.”