The Kahl Home, a nearly 60-year-old nursing home in central Davenport with historic ties to two of the city’s most noted businessmen, will move this month to new quarters with a resort feel in the cornfields of north Davenport.
Because the home has been a strong, stabilizing force in its original West 9th Street neighborhood, its departure creates worries for neighbors, but it also opens many opportunities for the Kahl and its clients.
The $40 million project, including the purchase of 40 acres of land, provides 135 skilled-care rooms, just six more than the current location, but they are bigger — 230 square feet each versus 180, administrator Rosalie Thomas said. In addition, each room has a zero-depth entry shower, so residents will no longer have to go down the hall to bathe.
The new place on Veterans Memorial Parkway/67th Street — expected to be the next east-west throughway across Davenport — also provides more amenities.
Those include a café and pub where residents can get a beer or glass of wine, larger spaces for therapies, an automatic teller machine, a gift shop, wireless Internet access and “clustered” living in which groups, or “neighborhoods” of six or seven rooms each have their own living room, kitchen and whirlpool spa.
Importantly for the Kahl, there is room to someday build assisted living and independent living facilities, Thomas said.
The initial impetus for the project was a new federal regulation that would have required the original Kahl to have a sprinkler system for fire suppression installed by August 2013, a renovation that was estimated to cost $2 million, Thomas said.
“It was either vacate or do extensive renovation,” she explained.
Administrators also considered space constraints at the current location. Not only is there no room for new buildings, but parking is limited, even for existing users.
The Kahl nursing home got its start in 1954 when a sprawling, 18,000-square-foot, Spanish-style mansion built between 1912-14 by Henry “Hummer” Kahl was donated to the Catholic Diocese of Davenport.
At that time, the home was owned by V.O. Figge, the head of the former Davenport Bank & Trust Co., and his wife Elizabeth, Henry Kahl’s daughter.
The diocese invited the Congregation of the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm, based in Germantown, N.Y., to open a nursing home in the mansion and its members accepted.
A year later, the home had been converted to 30 rooms for women, as well as rooms for the sisters and some offices.
Through the years, the home had two major expansions, one in 1963 and another in 1987. The latter is the one that created the four-story, curved and windowed addition on the south side of the building.
Today’s new three-story building is a departure from the old. The exterior is a combination of stone and three colors of cementious siding with a fountain and extensive landscaping.
Inside, designers reduced the institutional look with the clustering of resident rooms into the “neighborhoods.” There also are private offices for nurse charting and medical supplies, replacing the traditional nurses’ stations. And there is a light and airy two-story atrium/multipurpose area with a café and pub.
On the north side is a chapel with stained glass and a convent. If the sisters decide at some point to move elsewhere or there are no more sisters, the convent could be converted into assisted living, Thomas said.
All of the furnishings are new. Except for some equipment and historic pieces, the old will be left behind at the old 9th Street mansion.
Among the historic pieces making the move are portraits of the Kahls and a mosaic of the Blessed Virgin that was part of the old chapel and has been incorporated into the new.
Residents will move Aug. 20-21. Those in good health who have family members able to move them are invited to do so; others will be transported by van, transit bus or ambulance, Thomas said.