By Emily Younker
The Greenbriar and the Meadows Care Center, two skilled-nursing homes that were smacked last year by the May 22 tornado, will return to Joplin, according to one of the operators.
“Yes, we are going to be rebuilding,” said Bill Mitchell, who is the vice president of operations for both nursing homes and is based in Sikeston.
The Greenbriar, formerly a 28,000-square-foot building at 2502 S. Moffet Ave., was in the direct path of the tornado in May 2011. In addition to the building being destroyed in the storm, more than a dozen residents and one staff member died as a result of injuries sustained in the tornado that night. About 80 residents and 20 staff members had been inside when the tornado hit.
In a telephone interview earlier this week, Mitchell said that “a set of plans are currently being developed” for a new Greenbriar. It will not be rebuilt on the Moffet Avenue site because it is planned to be between 50,000 and 55,000 square feet in size, which is larger than what that tract of land would allow, he said.
He declined to elaborate on possible locations, saying he didn’t want to negatively affect the purchase price of the real estate. He said he hopes to have a site selected by the end of July.
The Meadows Care Center, formerly a 34,000-square-foot building at 1805 W. 32nd St., was also damaged in the tornado and has since been demolished, Mitchell said. No fatalities were reported at that location.
It will be rebuilt — also around 50,000 square feet in size — on a tract of land that has already been purchased in the Wildwood Ranch development in west Joplin, near West 32nd Street and John Duffy Drive.
Reconstruction is expected to move forward once the engineering is complete and the city of Joplin approves the project, Mitchell said. Once it’s approved, he said he plans to make a formal announcement for a groundbreaking ceremony.
Both buildings will remain 120-bed homes, but they are expected to have bigger therapy centers and more small-group dining areas for residents, Mitchell said.
The buildings apparently will not have storm shelters or safe rooms.
When asked whether the buildings will have storm shelters or safe rooms, Mitchell said they will comply with all appropriate federal and state regulations for the construction of nursing homes as well as appropriate city safety and building codes.
“These buildings will be built to current engineering standards, as are required,” he said.
The former sites of the Greenbriar nursing home and the Meadows Care Center are currently for sale, according to Bill Mitchell, vice president of operations for both buildings.