Roaring River Health and Rehab to host open house for greenhouse

Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Roaring River Health and Rehab will celebrate the completion of its unique greenhouse at its facility in Cassville, along with the completion of its building renovations, on Sept. 9 from 1-4 p.m., along with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting at 2 p.m. The greenhouse is the first in the state of Missouri to be built in a skilled nursing facility, and allows residents to grow and eat their own produce, which they say gives them purpose, something to nurture and adds meaning and joy to their life. The large, 40 x 50-foot open room also features a serene waterfall, a sitting area, a temperature-controlled environment, a memorial garden and a security system. The greenhouse and its unique story was picked up by KY3 News in June, after the story as told in the Cassville Democrat went live. Julia Kilmer/

Facility enjoying celebrity status of having first greenhouse of its kind in the state

Roaring River Health and Rehab will be hosting an Open House and ribbon-cutting event on Sept. 9 from 1-4 p.m., with a ribbon-cutting at 2 p.m., to celebrate the completion of its new greenhouse and building renovations.

Major renovations of the building, which included replacing floors with a rustic, hardwood-laminate, painting resident rooms, offices, hallways and the cafeteria with light, bright colors, replacing lights, handrails, doors and renovating the nurses' station, were completed several months ago, but the completion of both the renovations and the greenhouse are being celebrated at the event.

"We're combining the two, but the main emphasis is on the greenhouse," said Russ Newby, administrator.

The greenhouse is the first in the state of Missouri to be built in a long-term, skilled nursing facility, let alone to allow residents to grow and eat their own produce, so staff and residents have understandably been a little in the spotlight lately.

The Cassville Democrat reported on the greenhouse in its June 15 issue, and other TV news stations have come out to pick up the story. But residents don't seem to mind the attention. They are just basking in the peace and serenity the greenhouse appears to bring them, like the plants that grow there.

"We had all kinds of people saying 'We saw you on TV,' and not just here in Cassville, but in Springfield and all over and especially since we're completely unique in that we are the only facility in the state of Missouri to have anything like it," Newby said. "It's going to be a fantastic room to use, and not just for a couple of months out of the year. We can use it year-round, so it's pretty exciting to have that kind of addition to our facility for our residents."

Residents have said the greenhouse gives them a purpose, something to nurture, a peaceful place to go, and adds meaning to their life. Being a first in a long-term skilled nursing facility, the project is a social experiment in the making, as residents are pretty much given free rein to grow whatever produce they want, and eat it, too. Or, they can grow a favorite flower to put on tables inside the facility, or in their room. Even residents whose thumbs aren't green are free to visit the large, open room to relax, reflect, meditate, read by the waterfall, or visit with family members and friends.

The structure is not the average, small greenhouse with a plastic sheath enclosure. It's a spacious, 40-by-50-foot facility with high ceilings, concrete floors, several planting tables with built in, flexible hoses for watering under each table, a controlled heating and air environment and a serene waterfall that takes up a large area of its west wall. One table is dedicated as a memorial garden, to honor the memory of good friends. The facility also has its own security system and video footage for residents' protection.

Even before it was officially completed, residents couldn't wait to start exercising their green thumbs and it quickly became the centerpiece and talk of the establishment.

"People are loving it, using it and having fun," Newby said.

In addition to the new paint reflecting calming colors, the walls are also reflecting a zen-like environment for residents, staff and visitors with photographs of area nature scenes.

About 30 canvas prints of photos taken by a local nature enthusiast reflect the pristine beauty of the area including the rivers, birds, eagles, flowers and seasons, have been placed throughout the building, which seamlessly blend with the facility's name and rustic theme.

Newby said the facility's name was changed from Red Rose Health and Rehab to Roaring River Health and Rehab in October 2014, and the owners wanted decor in the facility to mimic the area's natural beauty in its name.

"I think this is the biggest connection in this community, so after the remodel, the owners wanted to find decor to reflect those things," Newby said.

Newby said he believes the prints, which make an impact at sizes of 24-by-36 and 40-by-30, some striking tri-panel prints, will elicit good memories for residents, many of whom are Barry County natives who are familiar with the area.

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  • I think this is an awesome idea. I would love to see this idea spread to many other facilities like this!

    -- Posted by tpoole on Sat, Sep 3, 2016, at 12:40 AM
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