‘Morgan Orchards’ Exciting Prospect

Opinion / Aug. 10, 2017 11:33am EDT

Thirteen months ago, on July 11, there was the ground-breaking ceremony for Morgan Orchards Senior Living Community in Randolph Center. Recently, I stood looking out the windows of the newly constructed facility, seeing the outstanding views of the Green Mountains we had witnessed a little more than a year ago.

Gifford’s vision of a local vibrant retirement community is weeks away from completion.

Let us consider how this has happened. Over the course of construction, the project has employed an average of 40-60 tradespeople per day, with sometimes more than 80 skilled artisans on the site. We must also consider the many additional satellite jobs supported, for the materials and management required for projects of this scope.

Once open and operating, Morgan Orchards will employ 19 people for such items as grounds keeping, staffing, food services, etc. For many of us, local jobs are very important and Morgan Orchards will have a positive effect on our future local economy.

The persistent commitment by the Gifford Morgan Orchards team is commendable. Doug Pfohl, facilities director at Gifford Medical Center, who managed the Morgan Orchards project, has kept the cost within 2% of the original budget. The many employees I have grown to know because of this project share a relentless and continuous effort to make Morgan Orchards a positive part of our community. I thank you to all at Gifford for making this possible.

It might also be important to understand that Gifford Medical Center is a non-profit Vermont corporation and Morgan Orchards Senior Living Community is not subsidized. The 49 residential apartments will be purchased by the residents. There will be a monthly fee assessed per resident for the many unencumbered benefits of enjoying Morgan Orchards. We will no longer worry about snow shoveling or lawn care (yikes) or cleaning bathrooms, etc. We’ve met the chef who’ll be preparing the dinner to be served each evening, much of the menu locally grown.

What makes Morgan Orchards special? My friends at Morgan Orchards will be diverse and fun, farmers, educators, professionals, artists, local business people, or a tradesperson like myself. I will be able to stay as active and involved as I choose. Maybe with new-found time we can use this luxury to “give back” to the local community.

VTC is a short walk, and entertaining commentary can often be found at Floyd’s general store across the street. Randolph, one of the best small towns in New England, with all its shopping and culture, can be seen down in in the valley. Since Morgan Orchards is not a senior living “chain”; the residents will be involved in many of the operational decisions like landscaping, gardens, and community space and may participate in as many activities as they choose.

Morgan Orchards is not just new construction, but a new beginning for independent living. The residents will be growing, not growing old. We look at Morgan Orchards as the beginning of a new adventure. Live local and enjoy the view!

Al Wilker


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