Rendering of a planned Good Samaritan Society facility in South Dakota
This rendering shows the planned Good Samaritan Society facility in South Dakota.
Rendering of a planned Good Samaritan Society facility in South Dakota
This rendering shows the planned Good Samaritan Society facility in South Dakota.

A little more than a year after announcing that it was scaling back to focus resources in seven core states, the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society announced Tuesday that it is developing a new, $200 million comprehensive senior living and skilled nursing campus in South Dakota.

The new community, billed as first-of-its-kind by Good Sam leaders, will be known as Founder’s Crossing and include 510 units by 2028. The vision is to produce one interconnected community that relies on the provider’s integration with Sanford Health to deliver everything from primary care to laboratory tests and X-rays to prescriptions and groceries on the 60-acre campus. 

“It’s going to simplify the aging experience in a way we’ve never done,” Good Sam CEO and President Nate Schema told McKnight’s. “To have everything under one roof, connected by hallways, in South Dakota’s [winter weather] … you’ll be able to walk your loved one to the physician’s office without ever going outside or to the pharmacy or to get groceries.”

Although other Good Sam campuses include some components that will be at Founder’s Crossing, the new campus will offer the provider’s broadest continuum yet. It also might be a model for the organization’s regrowth.

In early 2023, Good Sam announced it leaving 15 states to focus on its aging services offerings in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado. This expansion is the first one announced since then and the first major new construction project under the Good Sam banner in “upwards of 10 years,” Schema said.

“We made that big pivot to move from 22 states to our core seven and reinvest in them, and we’re making good on that promise,” he added. “We’re continuing to reinvest additional dollars and reimagine how care is delivered for our seniors.”

Inside the details

Schema said that Sioux Falls, SD, made sense as the first place to test the expanded model, given that the community is adding about 5,000 residents annually and has a robust healthcare system. Sanford, the nation’s largest rural healthcare system, is based in Sioux Falls. The two organizations merged in 2019.

Sanford-tested resources will be available at Founders Crossing, including the extension of a pharmacy relationship with Lewis Drug. The consumer pharmacy has 50 stores in the Upper Midwest and operates 11 stores attached to existing Sanford clinics, the provider said in a press release today.

Lewis also has supported Good Sam’s nursing homes and will be able to do so across the continuum of care at Founder’s Crossing, Schema said. That relationship won Good Sam accolades late last year. North Dakota and South Dakota had the highest COVID vaccination rates among nursing home residents, a fact attributed to Lewis’ willingness to continue delivering vaccine to Good Sam facilities.

Construction crews are expected to break ground on the community this spring. 

It will be completed in phases with the first of 146 villas, 120 independent living apartments, 32 assisted living apartments and 32 memory care assisted living units opening in mid-2026.

The short-term rehabilitation and skilled nursing center, Sanford Health Clinic and Lewis Drug are projected to follow by 2028. 

Schema said the completed project would be a destination not just for senior living and care, but a destination that would draw people to Sioux Falls.

“We see this campus as being the blueprint for our future senior care model,” he said. “We’re pretty bullish on it. We have smaller models with a few less components, and we know it works. It’s not a question of whether it works. …It really just comes down to what the market demands.”

This article originally appeared on McKnight's Long-Term Care News