Park Place Small Houses open with ribbon cutting

Rehab building

It was a beautiful day for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Park Place of St. John Health & Wellness Center. To view more photos from the event, see our albums on Facebook.

ST. JOHN, Ind. (August 2016) — The Park Place of St. John Health & Wellness Center celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 23.

“I can not begin to tell you how excited I am to see all of your faces here, celebrating this with us today,” Rich Schutt said at the ceremony. “It has been literally decades in the making, and to know that it’s real today is just overwhelming.”

Land donors, political representatives, architects, designers, contractors, lenders, pastors, staff, and others were all present for the event.

“With great joy, I welcome each one of you to the opening of the Park Place of St. John Health & Wellness Center,” Providence Board Chair Tim Breems said to the crowd. “You represent countless colleagues, family, and friends who have provided and invested all that was required to bring this lovely community to this place on this beautiful day: financial support, time, planning, skilled labor, fine craftsmanship, love, and prayer.”

After the ceremony, guests were able to tour each of the three “Small Houses” that make up the Health & Wellness Center. Two of these home-like buildings will offer skilled nursing care to just 10 people each, and the third will provide short-term rehabilitation services for up to 30 people at a time.

At the time Providence received the donation of the land where Park Place is now built, the organization had also begun looking at the best models for the future of skilled nursing care.

“Clearly it was not in a hospital-like, institutional building with long hallways, and rooms that are a long distance from a dining room or common space,” Rich said.

Instead, he noted, the result of the study was the “Small House,” Providence’s take on the “Green House” senior living trend that has spread across the county.

Small House

The interior of one of the “Small Houses” at Park Place.

Small Houses are structures built with private bedrooms and bathrooms, open kitchens and a home-like floor plan. The layout helps seniors navigate their home more easily, giving them more freedom. And it fosters a social atmosphere, as people share meals and get to know each other well. It encourages both independence and community.

But it’s not just the architecture that sets Small Houses apart. The model extends beyond the physical building to the staff and philosophies of care. Each house is staffed by CNAs, referred to as Care Partners, who care for residents as a family member would — they keep the house clean, do laundry, cook for and eat with residents. Residents are allowed as many choices as possible: when to wake up and go to sleep, and what activities to plan, for example. As a group, they get input into the grocery shopping and the menu, and they are encouraged to assist in work around the house to whatever extent they are able.

Providence opened our first Small Houses – the first in the state of Illinois – on the Victorian Village campus in Homer Glen. We are now eager to bring the same model of care and service to Northwest Indiana.

Newly-hired Park Place of St. John staff were at the ribbon-cutting event to guide guests through the Small House and explain the benefits of this new kind of nursing home. The staff has already attended Small House training, specialized dementia training, and orientation classes to prepare them for their caregiving roles in the new community.

“It’s nice for (the program) to happen in nicely aligned bricks and mortar, but when the day is done, it is about people serving people. And we have a great group of people who have committed their lives to doing that,” Rich said.

The first residents of the Health & Wellness Center are expected to move in during the month of September, and the community will begin accepting rehab clients at that time as well. Alliance Rehab will provide therapy services on the campus.

For more information about the Small Houses, you can visit our website. Our Community Relations Directors are also available and happy to answer any questions about Park Place — contact Beth and Gary at (219) 525-4658 or


While the St. John Small Houses were getting ready to open this year, the Victorian Village Small Houses celebrated their first anniversary. Read more about life in this innovative skilled nursing community.


Read more about the progress at Park Place of St. John at the links below.

Providence breaks ground in St. John

‘I feel like I just won the million dollars’


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