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Sisters of St. Joseph to finance nearly 4 million dollars in renovations at its Motherhouse to fill seniors housing gap

'We've committed to financing and developing 10 additional seniors housing units in the north wing of the building' Sister Bonnie MacLellan

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Sault Ste. Marie-North Bay hope to fill the need for seniors housing with a 3.6 million dollar renovation project, at the Motherhouse on Main Street, in North Bay.  

The decision was made following a needs assessment study. 

"Its really not wise for us to take space that we aren't able to use and let it lie dormant. We had a study done, and the study indicated that one of the significant needs in Nipissing, was for seniors housing. So we've committed to financing and developing 10 additional seniors housing units in the north wing of the building," explained Sr. Bonnie MacLellan, General Superior of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Sault Ste. Marie .

The plan is to create six two bedroom and four one bedroom units. 

"We currently have 24 units in the east wing, that used to be the high school and the boarding school, and these units have a waiting list of about 150 to 200 people. So there's obviously a need, and a desire for people to want to live here," said MacLellan. "In the east wing we had 12 units that were rent geared to income. In the north wing we're still looking at where the greatest need is."  

With the preliminary work complete, its now a matter of getting approval for the required building permits from the City.    

The design includes an external entrance, with an external elevator to access the area.

"That requires work to be done in the summer months, or months where there is no frost. I hope we can hit the ground running in August, we have everything in place and ready to go." 

The target date for completion is December, 2018.

"As you know, it's an older building and when you gut to the walls, you might find things you hadn't anticipated. So it will be around the end of 2018, beginning of 2019."  

MacLellan says the project meets their commitment to assist the community in any way it can. 

"Our mission has always been to see what needed to be done and to do it until someone else could meet that good work, and then move on to the next unmet need. So that's what we've continued in that tradition."