Sage Living

Preliminary architectural drawings for St. John’s Medical Center’s Sage Living show a two-story design.

In a special meeting Tuesday morning, the St. John’s Medical Center Board of Trustees approved an expanded budget and size for Sage Living, the replacement for its nursing home and senior care facility.

Sage Living, which voters allocated $17 million for in a 2017 specific purpose excise tax vote, will now carry a total project cost of $45.1 million and a guaranteed maximum price of $37.4 million for construction, according to the motion submitted by Trustee Joe Albright. The five trustees present unanimously approved the higher budget, with Liz Masek and Linda Aurelio absent.

The expansion will accommodate an acute inpatient rehabilitation center, something that was not in the original designs. It is to include a therapy gym and provide care for patients who need months of rehab, such as those with congestive heart failure or chronic diseases. The planned square footage of the overall facility will increase from 60,000 to 74,000.

The original budget approved in the SPET election was $35 million, with voters covering $17 million, the hospital’s capital project budget $9 million and the St. John’s Hospital Foundation $9 million. The increase in cost will push the foundation’s contribution to $19 million, foundation President John Goettler said.

Goettler is confident the foundation will come up with the money, though he and his staff are still actively fundraising. Along with approaching several donors with “significant requests,” the foundation will hold community events about the new center. The first is at 10 a.m. today at the Senior Center of Jackson Hole.

Though trustees expressed hope at their meeting that costs would remain at or under the $45.1 million total, which includes money for furniture, equipment and other non-construction-related items, the project team, led by construction manager GE Construction, could submit a change order that would push the costs higher.

“We’re trying hard to avoid that,” Goettler said.

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-5902 or

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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