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Frazee Care Center finishes renovations

The visting areas of the Frazee Care Center, along with the rest of the facility, have new carpet, new furniture and new paint to create a more natural look. (Brian Basham/Tribune)1 / 3
Frazee Care Center administrator Austin Blilie greets Health Dimension Group officers during Thursday's open house that showcased recent renovations. (Jason Adkins/Tribune)2 / 3
The new nursing stations at the Frazee Care Center are more inviting to residents than the past ones were. (Brian Basham/Tribune)3 / 3

FRAZEE - The Frazee Care Center just finished a little sprucing up.

That is an understatement as the complex that is Frazee's second-largest employer completed major renovations and showed off the facility during an open house on Thursday.

"Before, it had old carpet and old furniture," said head administrator Austin Blilie. "So we just updated the flooring, painted the walls, put in new light fixtures and added new furniture."

The end result means that the facility feels more like a home instead of an antiseptic building. Natural light floods into the rooms and reflects off the earth tones to create a relaxing atmosphere.

"That's the big thing with the carpet," Blilie said. "One little subtle thing, but it makes a big difference. With the old tile before, all it does is create a hot look like a hospital.

"We want to create a home for them, instead of just a place to move in," Blilie said.

Patient interaction with nurses has changed as well. Instead of approaching an elevated nurse's station where patients that were limited to a wheelchair had to look up to talk to a nurse, the renovations open up the corners and the desks are at waist level.

The dining rooms have also been upgraded. The three dining rooms feel more intimate with wood tables. There is plenty of room to maneuver without feeling crowded.

With three different areas, assisted living, rehabilitation and assisted living, no area was left untouched by the changes.

There is a Nintendo Wii for residents and their families to use. Blilie said that bowling seems to be the most popular game.

Blilie said the $1 million renovations means that any worries that the Frazee Care Center could close should be gone.

"It speaks for itself," Blilie said. "We're in it for the long haul."

In addition, it helps the employees feel confident that it will stick around. With 125 employees, Blilie said the Frazee Care Center is tied to the community.

A change this year is recruiting high school and Minnesota State Community and Technical College students for Certified Nurse Assistant training.

Teenagers play a vital role in running the facility.

"They'll do anything from being a CNA, dietary aide and housekeeping," Blilie said. "Being a 24-hour facility, we're very flexible."

The Frazee Care Center is located at 219 West Maple. It can be reached at 334-4501 or toll-free at 1-877-528-2874.