Perry Lutheran Homes to buy Rowley Masonic Community

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The Rowley Masonic Community is close to being sold to the Perry Lutheran Homes.

The Perry Lutheran Homes is close to sealing a deal to purchase the Rowley Masonic Community, a spokesperson for the Perry Lutheran Homes said Thursday.

Mollie Clark, director of marketing for the Perry Lutheran Homes, said discussions around the sale have been ongoing for about a year, and the purchase is expected to be finalized Nov. 16.

“I think we’ve been talking about this with the board of the Rowley for about a year now,” Clark said, “to feel our way through things, and I think everybody’s on board now with the pending sale and transfer of ownership. We’ve always been open to collaborating with other elder-care communities around the area and evaluating any opportunities that might come our way as well.”

The sale will bring to three the number of campuses under the Perry Lutheran Homes’ administration, with the 57-bed Rowley facility joining the 70-bed Willis Avenue campus and the 77-bed Spring Valley campus.

Clark said Rowley residents and their families were informed of the impending sale Wednesday, and four meetings were held with Rowley staff members and another four with Willis Avenue and Spring Valley staffers to discuss to coming expansion.

Day-to-day operations should run smoothly during the transition, she said, and residents should be “reassured that you really won’t see and feel a lot of change, so the same staff that they’ve gotten to know over the years and have built relationships with, that same staff will still be there for them, and we’ll just kind of be alongside and learning and getting to know them. So residents and families really won’t see great changes or big moves or anything like that. It should feel, I hope, pretty comforting to them to know that there is a local organization that’s really dedicated to them and to the community and that’s overseeing things now and is there for a resource and to get better together at that campus.”

Clark said that “making sure the quality of care is there that residents deserve and families expect” will be the “first priority. We will be learners for this first part of this transition. We will provide local daily oversight through a director of nursing, and Melissa Gannon the administrator and the Rev. Max Phillips the CEO will be splitting time among all three campuses and providing oversight. I’m sure we will be spending a lot more time at the Rowley building for a while until we learn.”

She said the approach will not be to “walk in and fire everybody and change things up” but to “work alongside with the team that’s there and get to know the residents, get to know the families, get to know the staff and get a handle on the day-to-day operations.”

The merger of the facilities will be an “opportunity not only for staff to grow and develop, but I think it’s great we can offer residents a really wide variety of housing and service options now. It’s kind of exciting to think about,” she said.

The Perry Lutheran Home opened in 1956 in the former Kings Daughters Hospital, which was built in 1913 and demolished in 1979. In the 1960s and 1970s, additions increased the size of the facility, and a $1 million remodeling in 2015 brought the addition of a memory-care unit.

With the acquisition of Spring Valley Retirement Community in 2013 from the Dallas County Hospital Foundation, the Perry Lutheran Homes’ assisted-living supply grew by 39 units, and the staff grew to its present size of about 130.

The original Rowley Masonic Community at 3000 Willis Ave. was built in 1957. Construction of a $20 million, 72,000-square-foot addition to the Rowley began in January 2014 on the 36-acre campus at 1300 28th St.

The Rowley has been managed since November 2018 by Health Dimensions Group. The previous management company, Continuum Health Care Services, took over operation of the facility in the summer of 2015.

Offering independent living, assisted living, health care, dementia care and transitional rehabilitation, the Rowley Masonic Community is operated by a board of directors through the Grand Lodge of Iowa, with a trust agreement administered by the Dallas County District Court and Otley Lodge 299 AF&AM.

The Herman L. Rowley Memorial Trust Board of Trustees Chairperson Neil Paulsen and Health Dimensions Group Executive Director Greg Greenwood were not available for comment on the impending sale.

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