Hoxie company expands senior living to Hays
By JUDY SHERARD
Seniors and others looking for handicap-accessible living facilities soon will have another option.
The first phase of Ellis Estates, the independent living apartment complex located on East 33rd Street, should be completed this summer.
The facility is being built and is owned by Bainter Construction Services LLC, Hoxie.
Phase two of the project will include 20 more apartments, and construction is projected to start later this year.
Because it's privately funded, there are no income requirements, and units are rented month-to-month, said Wes Bainter, who owns the construction company.
Each of the 12 units in the first phase is 1,300 square feet. Besides a central living room and kitchen with full-size appliances, there are two bedrooms with an adjacent fully handicap- and scooter-accessible bath. One bedroom has a double closet, and the other a walk-in closet large enough to be used as an office, sewing room or even small bedroom if needed. One bath includes a laundry area and storage.
"This is the perfect layout, and we haven't changed anything for years," Bainter said.
Each unit comes with a garage that's accessible from inside the building. Each garage is equipped with a remote opener.
"All of the garages face south," Bainter said. "That's a huge benefit in the winter. Ice and snow and senior citizens do not go together."
The facility's common area includes a gathering space, restrooms, mailboxes, a mini-kitchen and larger commercial kitchen. Residents can plan events there or use the area for family gatherings.
There's also a safe room, a poured concrete vault, that provides as a storm shelter and an area for a hair stylist's use.
Bainter has built similar facilities in the area. He said there are more requirements to build in Hays than in some of the smaller communities, but his company has had "good cooperation in Hays. We've had absolutely no problems here in Hays. ... We just don't have any complaints."
Hays City Manager Toby Dougherty said the city doesn't have a comprehensive list of senior housing,
Housing is identified as single family, duplex and multi-family dwellings, but seniors and their housing needs were one component of the recent housing needs assessment.
"Aging baby boomers will have different housing demands than seniors before them," Dougherty said.
Many want independent living without maintenance, upkeep and yardwork.
The premise is seniors moving to independent living facilities opens up houses on the market.
"The economy impacts (their) choices," he said.
Senior housing is necessary, but it's important the housing be adaptable for young and growing families as demand declines with the number of baby boomers, Dougherty said.