Green Senior Housing Community for North Country Health Services in Minnesota to be Developed by Ecumen

New senior housing development could become one of country’s few LEED-Certified Communities

Shoreview, MN, June 18, 2008 --( – Aging services provider Ecumen, one of the country’s largest non-profit senior housing companies, is developing a green senior housing for North Country Health services in Bemidji, Minn. It is seeking to be one of the country’s few LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) senior housing developments.

The $20 million senior housing development, to be owned by North Country Health Services and developed by Ecumen, is being built using environmentally friendly or “green” features and methods. For example, underground parking will lessen impervious surface space and reduce water use, lighting features will prevent light and energy waste, and many construction materials will be harvested locally.

North Country Health Services and Ecumen plan to submit the project for third-party LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the United States Green Building Council.

“Three words stood out as we began to shape this project – mission, vibrancy and sustainability,” said Jim Hanko, president and CEO of North Country Health Services. “The new housing will complement our mission of assuring a lifetime continuum of quality healthcare services, it will be a vibrant community that allows people to live in Bemidji for a lifetime, and it will help sustain natural resources that we all share.”

“This project fully embraces a philosophy that aging is all about living,” said Sandy Bensen, North Country Health Services’ (NCHS) vice president of senior and community living services. “This will be a community that promotes healthy, successful aging and that honors and celebrates a person’s life to its very end.”

Slated for a late-summer groundbreaking, the senior housing development will include independent living apartments, assisted living apartments, and memory care apartments. The link to the NCHS mission is most evident with the “aging in place” concept where older adults can move in not needing any services and as they age, assisted living services are brought to them when they need them and on an ala carte basis. All living spaces will link to Neilson Place, the North Country Health Services skilled nursing care center that opened in 2004. The project is anticipated to open in the fall of 2009.

When completed, the Anne Street site will have more than 148,000 square feet of livable space in two buildings. Eighty catered living apartment homes, which feature independent living and assisted living, will have underground parking. The one-story memory care building will have 27 studio apartments.

Other features will include a library and media center, grand fireplace lounge, commercial kitchen and dining room, two guest motel-like suites, a hair salon and barber shop, community room, fitness room, and outdoor patios and walking paths.

“We’re extremely proud to be working with North Country Health Services and helping make this shared vision become a reality,” said Steve Ordahl, senior vice president of business development for Ecumen.

About North Country Health Services
North Country Health Services ( is a community-owned, not-for-profit health system comprised of North Country Regional Hospital, Neilson Place, Baker Park, Bemidji Medical Equipment, and the North Country Health Services Foundation.

About Ecumen
Ecumen ( is based in Shoreview, Minn., and is one of the largest non-profit senior housing, services and development companies in the United States. The name Ecumen comes from the word ecumenical, which in turn is derived from the Greek word for home: “Oikos.” Ecumen’s mission is to create “home” for older adults wherever they choose to live. Ecumen is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and has 4,000 team members. Ecumen writes about news and ideas that are shaping the future of aging services at its Changing Aging blog:

Mike Yanke