Out with the old. In with the new.
In January 2020, the iconic Airport Holiday Inn in Evansville suddenly closed down. More than a year later, the building is close to reopening as Melrose Assisted Living, one of the Tri-State's most innovative senior living facilities.
"365 days a year, 24/7 we have 72 degrees tropical paradise," said Keith Gander, director of marketing and admissions.
The building houses an indoor pool inside the atrium, as well as a spa and a gym.
"We have a family app that every resident that lives here can identify one person -- a daughter or son -- and they can get daily updates through our app," Gander said.
You'd think converting this 160,000 square foot hotel into senior housing during the COVID-19 pandemic would have been a difficult task, but luckily Gander said the project only hit a small roadblock at the very start.
"They kind of wanted to get everything started in January of last year, but because of the pandemic and lack of supplies, manpower, they really didn't get started on some of the projects until June of last year," he said.
It's not hard to see what makes Melrose so special, but as with every assisted living facility, safety is a top priority, and staff say they're prepared to meet every guideline and protocol necessary to set it above the rest.
"This atrium is 20,000 square feet," Gander said. "We're not going to have any problem social distancing in a community like this."
Sixteen of the former hotel's staff have stayed on, but Melrose is still looking to hire more registered and licensed practical nurses.
"We'll be staffed accordingly based upon the needs of individual residents," said Ashley Crafton, a nurse at the facility. "We'll be offering three different levels of care so one person may require a little more assistance as opposed to another person."
Though COVID-19 delayed the project a few months, staff at Melrose Assisted Living hope to finally open in the next couple of months.
"We are open for tours and open for any type of reservation if they would like to move in," Gander said. "When we do open the doors, they can have first available apartments."