A new life for an old hotel

At right, Amanda Campione, activities director of The Sentinel of Amsterdam, a new assisted living facilities on Market Street, works on a craft with facility resident Pat Seeley, formerly of Broadalbin. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

AMSTERDAM — What was once a closed and dilapidated Best Western Inn on Market Street has recently opened as a completely rehabilitated assisted-living facility for seniors.

The Sentinel of Amsterdam took in its first resident on Nov. 9 and is adding two or three more residents weekly. It is geared to generally independent people in need of some assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing and meals.

The 150-bed for-profit facility promises to be a win-win for both the owners and the community. The five-story Sentinel is state-licensed to serve 120 elderly on Medicaid and another 30 with other payment sources. At full capacity, it would provide jobs to more than 70 people, according to Samantha Bonanno, director of admissions and marketing.

The old hotel building in downtown was a “huge eyesore,” she said.

“The place was so rundown, it needed to be gutted and re-built piece by piece.”

Alyssa Baldizon answers the phone behind the reception desk at The Sentinel of Amsterdam on Market Street, a new 150-bed assisted living facility. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

The rehabilitation, which took almost two years, cost $16 million, included a state grant of $675,000, Bonanno said. The owner of The Sentinel and some nine other similar facilities is Home for Adults, based in New York City.

Tricia Altieri, a registered nurse and the administrator, said the facility is “very high end.”

“Everything is brand new.”

The center has private rooms, including a bathroom and shower, microwave, refrigerator and free cable television. The facility also has a larger dining room along with a smaller private dining area for family gatherings, a movie theater, an activities room, and a medication room overseen by a licensed practical nurse.

Three meals and two snacks are provided along with laundry and housekeeping. Serving the residents are a doctor; podiatrist; psychologist; beautician; along with speech, occupational and physical therapists. The facility is seeking a dentist.

Amanda Greco, a licensed practical nurse who is in charge of medications at The Sentinel of Amsterdam, new 150-bed assisted living facility on Market Street, displays bookmarks made by residents of the facility for area libraries. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

Eventually the center will offer home care by patient care aides and home health aides, according to Altieri.

The facility can admit residents from anywhere in the state but will focus primarily on Fulton and Montgomery counties. “We’ve been trying to keep everything local,” she said.

Activities director Amanda Campione sees her role as providing “a full-life activities program” that allows residents to enjoy whatever internal and community activities they are interested in. “If you don’t want downtime, there won’t be any downtime,” she said.

Besides the facility’s own programming, “I think Amsterdam does a great job making sure there is always something for its residents to do,” Campione said.

Residents can walk or drive to events. For transportation, the facility has a van, and the city of Amsterdam will provide four-times-a-day bus service starting in mid-December.

Shown in photo is the dining room of The Sentinel of Amsterdam on Market Street, a new 150-bed assisted living facility. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

“It’s important for our elder generation to stay involved in the community,” Campione said.

Bonanno, formerly assistant director of the city’s recreation department, credits Mayor Michael Villa and the Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency with helping to make The Sentinel possible, including successfully pulling in the state grant.

For their part, “the owners of The Sentinel are very generous to the community,” already sponsoring a baseball and soccer team, she said.

For more information, call Bonanno, at (518) 896-0010.

The entrance to The Sentinel of Amsterdam on Market Street is shown in photo. The new 150-bed assisted living facility was the result of the complete rehabilitation of the former Best Western Inn. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)