Several hundred area residents visited Copeland Oaks on Sunday during the event to mark the opening of the Donald R. James Assisted Living Center on the campus of the retirement community in Sebring.

The open house marked the completion of a new assisted living wing, addition of two new kitchen and dining areas and remodeling of existing assisted living apartments and staff work areas. The $1.4 million expansion and remodeling project, started in April, brings to 90 the number of assisted living accommodations on the Copeland campus.

“God gives us dreams a size too big so that we can grow into them. Today our dream has come true and Copeland Oaks is continuing to grow,” observed Phil Braisted, Copeland CEO, in his welcome remarks. The invocation and blessing was given by the Rev. Bob Amy of the Damascus United Methodist Church.

The assisted living construction project is part of a campus-wide strategic plan supported by T.H.E. Campaign spearheaded by the Oaks Foundation. Lisa Hines, Oaks Foundation director of development, noted that the strategic plan focuses on technology and housing throughout the Copeland campus, and endowment of the Copeland Life Care Fund. She announced that the campaign exceeded the goal of $3.5 million, raising a total of $.8 million in gifts.

Honored at the ceremonies and open house is Donald R. James who has resided at Copeland Oaks since 2007. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and retired metallurgical engineer who worked for major U.S. steel and oil companies, James previously resided in the New York City and Cleveland areas. He was presented with a plaque that designates the facility as the Donald R. James Assisted Living Center.

In expressing appreciation to James during the recent ribbon-cutting ceremony, Hines addressed James saying, “You are making a remarkable impact on our community and have reminded me of what the true beauty of Copeland Oaks is all about.” Hines also recognized major supporters of T.H.E Campaign and thanked all of the donors noting, “Without the continued support of so many very generous people, we would not be able to make these types of improvements that allow Copeland Oaks to grow and prosper.”

Copeland Oaks AL Open House

“The Copeland AL facility offers both studio and suite style apartments, each equipped with handicapped accessible bathrooms and kitchenettes. The new full-service kitchens offer food preparation and serving areas as well as a casual bar for snacking. The large dining rooms have window walls to offer a panorama of Copeland Lake and gardens. A wide balcony encircles each dining room to provide AL residents with an opportunity to enjoy mild weather in protected areas,” said Debbie Reho, Copeland director of marketing, in describing the construction project.

“The remodeled and enlarged gathering areas were arranged and decorated to allow our residents to enjoy the same ‘living room’ ambiance that they would experience at home,” said Jason Cicchillo, administrator of the Copeland AL facility. Trinette Jones, RN, director of clinical AL services noted, “We now have the environment and the facilities to support our focus on quality of life for all of our residents allowing for great flexibility in accommodating each individual’s personal schedule for meals and activities of daily living.”

Architect for the project was Frank S. Pavliga of Atwater and Jim Stitle of Stitle Construction of Salem was general contractor. Subcontractors for the project included Hippley Excavating, Chappell & Zimmerman, Leetonia Steel Erectors, Tolson Comfort Systems, Ellyson Plumbing, Ellyson Plumbing, Roger Kreps Drywall, Robertson’s Supply, Bonfert Glass, Davidson Painting, Patella Carpet and Tile and Smith Landscaping.

“We feel that it is very important to use local contractors, tradesmen and businesses for our construction projects providing jobs and revenue to the local communities that have whole heartedly supported Copeland Oaks during our 50 year history,” emphasized Braisted.

Assisting with the ribbon-cutting ceremony prior to the open house was Audrey Null, Salem Chamber of Commerce executive director, and The Salem Chamber Ambassadors. Special guests included Mark Locke, Alliance Chamber of Commerce executive director, and Alan Andreani, Alliance mayor.