JASPER — Wanting to provide better service to the community by adding space, but with a gap in their budget, administrators from the Suwannee Valley Nursing Center in Jasper asked the Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners for help at its May 21 meeting.

After much discussion from the board, including how to divide up the money in budget cycles, the commissioners approved funding $500,000 by unanimous vote.

“I’m of the personal opinion that we’ve invested a lot of time and effort into this. You’re almost at the point of no return,” said Chairman Josh Smith of the addition to the nursing home. “There is some difficulties, but do you quit when it gets tough?

“It’s a bright spot in the community.”

Nursing Center Administrator Danny Williamson said the home was built in 1969.

“You can imagine, the infrastructure and the way the building was designed is antiquated,” he said. “That’s the main reason we started the project.

“This project won’t make any more money for the nursing home. It’s simply a project to provide better service to the community and be able to ensure the nursing home is there well into the future.”

Administrators from the Suwannee Valley Nursing Center said they will look for funding from other entities as well, like the Development Board and Hospital Board.

The project is for a 12,000 square foot addition. By the end of construction, Williamson said he expects to have 30 semiprivate rooms, 24 private rooms and six private suites.

The additional construction was anticipated to create 10 additional jobs. But nursing center administrators said additional jobs will hinge upon the reimbursement rate for each resident and that rate has dropped recently.

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Mike Jones is a sports writer for the Suwannee Democrat, Jasper News and Mayo Free Press in North Florida.