Nursing Home a No-Go


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Spanning from the shore where tenderly maintained grass caresses the St. Johns to the abrupt stop of the greenery behind the wrought iron gates that sever academia from the street, a region nicknamed “the woods” curls around this skirt of the north end of Jacksonville University.

“The woods” is 60 acres of mostly undeveloped land (aside from the Alumni House and three abandoned homes that have been enveloped by the wild) that had been under the eyes of JU alumnus Gregory Nelson and the capital of Tallahassee up until more than two weeks ago.

Derek Hall, Ph.D., vice president for university and external affairs, helped illuminate the situation that unfurled then frayed two weeks ago. It was the intention of Nelson, the owner of an investment firm known as the Nelson Holding Company, to place a nursing home in proximity to Jacksonville University. Nelson’s aim was for the JU School of Nursing to collaborate with the nursing home if Tallahassee approved the appropriate licensure.

Though the university trustees remained neutral throughout the process of the plan, students aware of the plan were in no way troubled by the notion of a physically close, university-affiliated, possibly hybrid medical facility.

“I think having a closer facility to do clinicals is a great idea especially for the students just starting out,” said junior Brian Giles.

In accordance to Florida law in order for a nursing home to be built, a company must prove that there is a need for the operation, or it must buy an older facility and rebuild under that license. This is Florida’s decade standing moratorium on nursing homes. Nelson attempted to go a third route – building with the intention of working with an academic institution.

According to the Florida Times Union, a bill with Nelson’s pilot plan was passed, but it’s future with JU remains unclear.

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