‘Amazing’ donors provide new elevator and power generator at Rocky Mountain Manor


An estimated $285,000 in capital improvements at Rocky Mountain Manor retirement home in Powell were accomplished during the winter months, and here’s the good news.

Between contributions from the community and a $50,000 grant from the Daniels Fund, the manor has just about covered the entire $285,000 cost of a new three-story elevator and a diesel-powered backup generator. One donor contributed the entire cost of the new elevator.

The total $285,000 outlay includes the soft costs of engineering and architectural services.

“It’s just amazing,” said Cindy Ibarra, manor executive director.

And there’s more to be done.

In addition to the new elevator and the new outside generator, the manor’s operating board identified three other projects needing to be to addressed. The three elements include: 

• Building an expanded parking lot;  

• Remodeling bathrooms in the manor common areas; 

• Repair and rehabilitation of the building’s main elevator.

The manor board had about $120,000 in reserves pledged to the total improvements. After the overwhelming response of the community to an appeal for assistance, the new elevator and the generator are essentially done, and the board still has the $120,000.

Board president Wes Metzler said it isn’t known if the reserve funds will be sufficient to cover the parking lot, the bathroom rehabilitation and the repairs to the main elevator. The elevator is the priority element.

“We have enough to do some of them,” Metzler said. “Our priority is going to be the main elevator.”

The main elevator, built into the original building some 50 years ago, runs off the manor lobby. It services all three

residential floors and extends into the basement where laundry and activity areas are located. The new elevator on the north end of the building does not extend to the basement.

“The main elevator is still working,” said Metzler. “But it is questionable.”

He explained there have been times when the main elevator failed four or five times in a month, with people sometimes trapped inside. A phone inside the elevator is used to alert the office, and occupants have been quickly freed.

The balky elevator was the main reason the manor set out on the current program of improvements.

Elevator repair will be expensive, Metzler said. But the full cost won’t be known until the extent of the problem is determined. The manor has waited until the new elevator is in service before shutting down the main elevator for repairs.

Manor residents have been patient while waiting for the main elevator problem to be diagnosed and addressed, Ibarra said.

“They’ve actually been wonderful. They’re over the jitters,” she added. “They’re patiently waiting for the new one.”

Supervising the construction of the new north end elevator was Sheridan Construction Co. of Powell.

The elevator project stretched over several months, delayed by extremes in weather. Installation of the Otis Elevator Co., unit was completed in frigid temperatures in the dead of winter.

Sheridan Construction actually began the project in late September of 2016, digging the footings and building the 37-foot high walls of the elevator shaft. Before the exterior masonry work could be completed, heavy rains fell over a period of days and held up the project. That threw off schedules, causing further delay.

“It was still a good project and a very good thing for Powell and the manor,” said Jeff Sheridan. A glass-enclosed vestibule was built on each of the three floors which the elevator will open into.

The elevator installation itself was done by crews from the Otis Elevator Co.

The elevator work was done during a stretch of the winter’s most bitter cold temperatures in January.

“It was really cold,” said Ibarra. “But they said they’re used to it. They put on extra clothing and kept their vehicles running. From time to time, they stopped to warm up in their vehicles.”

The new outside generator has the capability to provide power to the whole building, including the operation of both elevators. The new generator installation was done by Bar T Electric of Powell.

Rocky Mountain Manor has 52 units and all are rented, with a waiting list of prospective renters. Four of the 52 units accommodate couples for a residential population of 56.