By Sue Moore
Several Vicksburg residents have been urging the village and Bronson Hospital to find a new use for the facility or a buyer that would renovate it. Their wishes materialized with the announcement that the former Bronson Vicksburg Hospital has been sold to Lansing-based New Leaf Management, LLC.
The purchasing company expects to do extensive remodeling as an assisted living center, to accommodate people who require 24-hour supervision but not necessarily skilled nursing care. Potential patients would first be screened to determine if there is a good compatibility fit to live in the residence according to Sami W. Al Jallad, the company’s executive director. The staff would evaluate the person’s mental and physical state and how they were functioning overall.
Admission diagnoses, according to the corporate web site, may include mental illness, traumatic brain injury, personality disorder and substance use.
Turning Leaf Residential Rehabilitation Services, Inc., is a Michigan-based assisted living provider and a sister organization to New Leaf Management, the purchaser. The parent company owns and operates 18 individually licensed programs on the west side of the state in Muskegon, Ottawa, Allegan and Kent counties. The leadership team is headed by Al Jallad and includes his wife Destiny, who is a psychologist and serves as the company’s administrator and director of operations. Sami’s brother Jamil, an interior architect, serves as facilities manager.
They are part of a team of clinicians and administrative staff who lead the organization. Jamil is the internal point person for the Vicksburg renovation. They plan to license 40 beds there, some in single rooms, others in doubles. There will be security features installed throughout, Al Jallad said.
The new owners will need to modify the facility for its use by building a new kitchen as the old one is way too large and considerably outdated, Al Jallad said. More bathrooms will be added with shower and bath facilities. Currently, they have no plans to utilize the area where the labs, ER and kitchen were located but that could change once they assess the functionality of the building. “Bronson did an exceptional job of maintenance even after the facility was closed,” Al Jallad pointed out. “They were great stewards and maintained their investment.”
The 40,000-sqare-foot former hospital and rehabilitation center was built and opened in 1969 after a successful community fundraising drive. Citizens collected donations to build the structure at 13326 N. Boulevard in Vicksburg after a hospital on N. Main Street became overcrowded. It was owned and operated by the village of Vicksburg. A few years later, it was sold to Bronson because it had more expertise in running a small 50-bed hospital and it was felt the hospital’s expertise could keep it afloat. Times changed in the hospital business. Over the years the facility was used primarily for rehabilitation, lab work, x-ray and emergency room coverage. Just over a year ago, Bronson bought Vicksburg Family Doctors practice next door to the hospital and shuttered the hospital facility completely.
According to Bronson Senior Vice President Mike Way, “Over the past several years, we have looked at many ideas for repurposing this building, always hoping we’d find a partner and solution that could make the best possible use of this facility and be beneficial to the community. We’re extremely pleased to have found that perfect fit with Turning Leaf.”
Turning Leaf has been owned and operated by the same family for two generations. Executive Director Al Jallad said, “We look forward to the process of renovating and bringing renewed life and purpose to the former Bronson Vicksburg Hospital property. This is a very exciting moment for our employees, stakeholders, and most importantly the people who will benefit from this new residential program. We are very grateful to and could not have asked for better partners in the Bronson team, specifically Mike Way and Greg Milliken, as well as Jim Mallery and Bobby Durkee with the Village of Vicksburg during the sale and due diligence process. On behalf of our Leadership team, we look forward to continued partnerships with the Bronson organization as well as the village of Vicksburg and having the most productive impact on the local community as possible.”
Village President Bill Adams was delighted by the sale as it “completes one of the council’s major strategic goals from four years ago, in that we wanted to see the building repurposed to service our citizens, especially our seniors.”
Internationally accredited at the highest level by CARF, the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and licensed by the state of Michigan, Turning Leaf works collaboratively with community mental health agencies and other regional stakeholders to serve individuals as close to home as possible.
Turning Leaf has 185 employees throughout the state and the organization expects to employ another 60-80 individuals to serve the Vicksburg location. The Bronson Family Doctors office next door to the hospital was not included in the sale.