The Baptist Home continues plans for mid-Missouri community - Word&Way

The Baptist Home continues plans for mid-Missouri community

Some people have already sent their contact information to The Baptist Home corporate office in hopes of being among the first to move into an adult community in mid-Missouri.

This farmhouse on the site for the newest Baptist Home campus will be converted to offices and conference rooms, with Founding Administrator Steve Long to use the upper floor as temporary housing during campus development. (TBH photo)

While plans for the newest TBH campus are moving forward, the first residents still will have to wait from three to five years before moving in.

Baptist Home trustees and leaders first considered adding a mid-Missouri site under Reuben L. South’s tenure as Missouri Baptist Convention executive director from 1975-1986, but did not move forward with the idea.

Webster and Elizabeth Brown also were instrumental in advocating for the project. A TBH trustee in the 1990s, Brown dreamed of a mid-Missouri campus and kept the idea before the board.

But not until two years ago did trustees get serious about it and formed a committee to examine the possibility, TBH President Steve Jones explained. That committee determined the project feasible.

Through a market study, the committee found a desire and a need particularly for independent living accommodations for mature adults.

Property for the newest venture has been purchased two miles north of Ashland, Mo., on the west side of Highway 63. Steve Long has been named founding administrator and will move into a home on the property this fall to oversee the development.

The site includes 73 acres, which will lend a pastoral setting for residents. The large farmhouse that will serve as Long’s temporary home will be converted into offices and conference rooms.

Before starting construction, TBH administrators are working on zoning. They hope to get the property incorporated into Ashland’s city limits. The property needs some road improvement to avoid entering and exiting the property directly from Highway 63, and sewer access.

Currently, Allstate Consultants, a Columbia, Mo.,-based civil engineering firm, is assisting with the site plan, including zoning and other infrastructure issues.

Once zoning and other requirements are met, the Home would be ready to start construction of its independent living units. Administrators and trustees currently are considering design builders and architects to choose one to develop building plans.

The TBH plan calls for stand-alone, two-plex and four-plex homes for adults who want to retain their independence. A “congregate living” option — apartments for independent living that include a common kitchen and dining room and areas for socialization and fellowship — also will be available. The congregate living option will target the independent 70+-year-old single adult, widow or widower.

A community center and indoor/outdoor recreational facilities also are planned.

The elder care industry is changing rapidly to reflect the lifestyle mature adults want, Jones said. But The Baptist Home remains committed to its continuum of care philosophy — to provide tools for as high a level of quality of life as possible for as long as possible. The TBH plan calls for assisted living options, as well.

Rather than separating intermediate care clients into institutional buildings, the Home will concentrate on continuing care through assisted living. The continuum of care philosophy allows people to age in place, which could be done through home health services and hospice, as may be required.

Although The Baptist Home remains under a legal cloud, Jones said the continuing lawsuit has not hindered the mid-Missouri plan so far. The Home was the first of five agencies formerly affiliated with the Missouri Baptist Convention to change its governing documents to allow it to elect its own trustees.

The MBC filed a lawsuit against the Home, Word&Way, Windermere Baptist Conference Center, Missouri Baptist University and the Missouri Baptist Foundation on Aug. 13, 2002, to try to force the five to rescind those changes and return control to the convention. The courts have sided with Windermere, and the MBC dropped legal action against Word&Way. Legal action is still pending against the remaining three entities.

Though the Home has not developed a waiting list for the mid-Missouri campus, individuals hoping for a spot may send their contact information to Long by email at Churches, other groups and people interested in a presentation or more information about the newest campus also may email or call him at 573-823-1261