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(East Greenwich Twp., NJ) -Gloucester County Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney and the Board of Chosen Freeholders cut a ribbon today to celebrate the opening of the county's new 55,000 square foot building that serves as a nursing home and a child development center.

"We are all so proud to stand in this beautiful new complex today and celebrate the continued and expanded tradition that is known as Shady Lane in Gloucester County," said Freeholder Director Sweeney.

Sweeney said, "Generations of families will pass through these doors and this modern facility will serve our elderly and our youngest residents by providing them with care and respect."

Freeholder Director Sweeney stated, "There were some rocky times for Shady Lane, and we had the option of closing the nursing homes' doors, but we knew we could try and turn the situation around and provide quality care for our residents without further burdening our taxpayers. Today we see the fruit of that labor," Sweeney said.

In 2001, Shady Lane Home received many deficiencies from the state for both the physical state of the old facility and care. Shady lane was built in 1861 and the building would have required almost a complete rebuild to bring it up to a modern day facility. Instead of closing Shady Lane, the Freeholders chose to transfer its operations to the Gloucester County Improvement Authority.

"The public support behind this nursing home was enormous, but unfortunately so was the amount of funding that the county would have had to come up with to run the home," said Freeholder Director Sweeney. "We knew that if the GCIA could operate Shady Lane, they could turn it around and come up with a way to make it better for everyone and they did," said Sweeney.

Aside from Underwood Hospital, Shady Lane has the highest ranking Score Card of nursing homes by the New Jersey Department of Health & Senior Services in the county.

The 60 bed nursing home features 10 private rooms and 25 double rooms, each with its own bathroom and shower, several activity areas, one main nurse station and one satellite station, a modern kitchen and dining area, and an amphitheater and walking trail.

"This building was designed to offer our residents and staff modern medical efficiency," said Director Sweeney. "The old building created very difficult situations for our staff to deliver care and for our residents to have any privacy.

In addition to serving elderly and infirmed residents, Shady Lane now features a new Child Development Center.

The Daycare has its own entrance and is equip with a nursery, kitchen, sick child room, four classrooms and a play ground.

"The idea to include bridge generations at Shady Lane was really great," said Sweeney. "Our new child development center already has a full list - we did a lot of research into what people wanted and needed, and we were right on target."

The new Child Care Development Center will currently serve 44 children up to four years of age and 6 infants. It features certified teachers and a comprehensive curriculum and is open from 6:30 am to 6:00 pm. There will be 15 full-time and 5 part-time staff members at the day care. The day care is licensed by the state.

"Working families have it tough enough without have to worry about finding affordable, convenient and quality daycare," said Sweeney. "By adding this component to Shady Lane we are caring for citizens of all ages."