Organizers of Sacred Ground Hospice House have found a building. Property on Dry Gap Pike that formerly was Faith United Methodist Church is under contract for purchase.
“It’s absolutely fabulous,” said Cindy Bradley, owner of Signature Homes and leader of the community-based nonprofit organized to provide housing for people with terminal illnesses.
The group formed after Tennova announced plans to close the residential hospice built by St. Mary’s in Halls. Sacred Ground first attempted to purchase the facility from Tennova but could not come to terms, said Bradley.
“They wanted $3.2 million for a 21-year-old building that needed repairs,” said Bradley. She was able to work a better deal with the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church. Faith UMC was a planted church that never took root. But the property is perfect for Sacred Ground.
“We’ll use the existing building as a community room that accommodates 150 with rest rooms, a kitchen and offices, and we will build a wing on the west side for 16 hospice rooms,” said Bradley. Architect Dan Brewer is developing the design. If “use-on-review” plans are approved by the Knox Planning Commission on May 14, then site prep will begin immediately. Construction can begin after 30 days with an opening by year’s end.
Bradley said her group has the money to purchase the property outright and then will need to raise about $2 million to build the hospice wing.
“It will never pay for itself. We’re going in with our eyes wide open,” said Bradley. Sacred Ground will not seek licensure as a medical facility. It will not be staffed with registered nurses and physical therapists. “It will be a place where families can be with loved ones as they leave this life as peacefully as possible.”
Residents will pay a room and board fee to be set by the board of directors. Prices typically range from $175 to $250 per night.