Harvey County moves forward with IRBs for Kidron Bethel

Chad Frey
The Kansan

A renovation/expansion project for Kidron Bethel Village took a big step forward last week, with the approval issuance of Industrial Revenue Bonds by the Harvey County City Commission. 

Planned renovations at Kidron Bethel Villiage include enlarging the chapel/meeting area to accomodate groups of up to 200 people.

The total project is expected cost about $11 million when complete. The organization announced to staff the completion of a fund-raising campaign totaling about $3.5 million at the end of August. 

"What we are embarking on at Kidron Bethel is probably the largest project we have since the building's inception in the early 1990s," said Jerrol Schrag, chief financial officer for Bluestem Communites, which operates Kidron Bethel. "... We are very excited about what is happening in North Newton." 

The project at hand — which has already seen pieces completed — will include the renovation or addition of about 50,000 square feet to the retirement center. 

All healthcare rooms will be renovated, and the facility will add five more rooms to the current 60. A renovated meeting space, which will have classrooms for Bethel College and be storm shelter rated, is part of the renovations as well. 

“Anywhere from 150 to 200 of our students work at Kidron every year,” said Bethel College President Jon Gering. “That’s part of our goal to become a work college and have gainful employment for every student. We’re very glad that Kidron is a partner in that process.”

The new Education Center at Kidron – a 60-seat classroom that can be divided into two smaller 30-seat classrooms – will address educational needs and interests for both demographics and offer continued intergenerational connections.

When initially constructed in 1991, the current chapel was designed with a capacity of 80 individuals. The new chapel and community space will seat approximately 200 and will serve in multiple ways on a daily basis.

The  project includes renovations to campus dining options. The existing Harvest Table dining room that serves residents, staff and guests is structured like a cafeteria. The renovation plan would give the dining area a make over into a more restaurant-like atmosphere.

In addition to an overall cosmetic refresh of the space and noise-quieting features, guests to the dining area would have a sit-down, table service experience rather than that of a cafeteria-style buffet line. Guests could also choose indoor seating or outdoor options with new additions of both open-air and screened-in patios.

Already completed is a new physical therapy building which began operation in February. 

The requested industrial revenue bonds  come with tax exemption interest. Bonds will be issued later this fall.

According tot he Kansas Commerce Department in IRB financing, the bond issuer either directly loans the bond proceeds to a private business or acquires ownership of the property financed and leases it to the business. The loan payments or lease rentals are used to repay the bonds with interest. Typically, in a lease structure, the business is given an option to purchase the property at the end of the lease term for a nominal sum. Proceeds from the sale of the bonds are placed in escrow with a bank and used as directed by the business to pay eligible costs of constructing, acquiring and installing the facilities. The business may have up to three years to spend the proceeds of tax-exempt bonds on eligible property.