Groundbreaking for the new four-bedroom Cayman HospiceCare building, behind Coconut Joe’s Beach Bar and Grill on West Bay Road, is scheduled within 10 weeks, according to HospiceCare executives.

Contractors have already cleared a preliminary access road into the site, which houses a Dart Realty arboretum and two abandoned homes. Construction on the $2.5 million project will begin immediately, taking a year to finish.

The new building will replace HospiceCare’s current premises, which combine administration at Trafalgar Place and medical care in a two-bedroom inpatient unit at The Pines.

HospiceCare last summer left its original home, the 3,000-square-foot Conch Shell House on North Sound Way. HospiceCare Director of Operations and Development Danielle Coleman said the new site “will bring the administration and the inpatient unit under one roof in a very serene location.”

“There are numerous benefits,” she said. “Obviously, the custom-made facility is designed with our patients’ needs at the forefront. Additionally, being at the same location there are benefits from an HR/time-management perspective.

“Whenever we have patients in residence, nurses have to come and go between the two facilities. By being at the same location, hospice staff can look after patients and do their administrative tasks in a more efficient manner,” Ms. Coleman said.

The four new bedrooms, according to Building Committee Chairwoman Nancy Lewis, can be expanded as needs require: “The hospice can easily convert into a six bed within the same building. If more beds are required in the distant future, we have room to build and relocate the administration facilities and expand further.”

However, she said, demand is unlikely to require expansion in the near future. “Based on current utilization of our villa and the country’s population, we do not see this being needed for at least 20 years.”

HospiceCare Chairman Chris Duggan said the site will not only include a sprawling single-story building and dedicated administration space, but also private gardens, pathways, a wooded area, parking and a dedicated access road to the one-acre site.

The building will have two nurses’ stations, family rooms with overnight facilities and common areas with coffee, music and television.

“We are now very close to being able to submit our plans to the [Planning Department’s Building Control Unit] for approval to commence construction,” Mr. Duggan said, “and, assuming all goes well, we are hoping to break ground in March or April.”

Design, building materials, land, furniture, air-conditioning, labor for the construction, costs and even wood, cement, rocks, bricks and mortar have been donated by local companies, government and volunteers.

“Reaching this point is the culmination of a huge amount of work by our Hospice staff, volunteer board members and our architects, all of [whom] have contributed huge amounts of time and effort to get us to where we are,” he said.

“I am extremely grateful to all who have been involved to date and all who continue to support Cayman HospiceCare.”

A major contributor to costs has been fundraiser and Dart Realty security chief Derek Haines, who has raised nearly $2 million for the project after competing in six marathons in 2014.

Final costs for the project, Ms. Lewis said, are “difficult to quantify as we are in process of acquiring in-kind donations for materials and construction.

“However, thanks to Derek Haines and his fundraising efforts, we do have US$1.6m …. ”

Initially, she said, groundbreaking had been set for late 2016, but planners had confronted a series of delays.

“This [inpatient unit] is being designed, constructed and managed by volunteers. It is the first unit of its kind to be built in the Cayman Islands, and we also required outside input from hospice architects off-island.

“We felt it was instrumental to ensure the design was correct, and it also requires heavier approvals. In addition, the land is donated in full, and zoning permissions needed to be obtained. Unfortunately, all of those variables require time.”

Cayman HospiceCare receives $50,000 a year from government but relies on donations to meet an $1,800 per day budget, providing free end-stage-illness services such as clinical volunteer programs, a lunch club, music therapy, animal therapy, art therapy, counseling, yoga, therapeutic massage, reiki, acupuncture and a bereavement program.

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