MONETTE, Ark. (WREG) — After a tornado destroyed a nursing home in Monette, Arkansas, nearly two years ago, the owners are bringing it back better than ever.

It’s impossible to appreciate the progress made in rebuilding Monette Manor without remembering its darkest hours. Administrator Kevin Stewart recalls the scene after an EF-4 twister leveled the nursing home on December 10, 2021.

“We had 67 residents here. One did pass away that night from the tornado damage and there were several sent to hospitals,” Stewart said.

Stewart said in spite of the devastation left behind, they started quickly planning the nursing home’s return.

“Pretty much the next day we met with the staff and administration and owner and there was never any doubt we were going to rebuild,” he said.

After clearing debris, construction began at full speed until now. The facility is just a few weeks from reopening. 

“Painting, and finishing up doorways, and getting some last-minute equipment in. Actually, today I was working on an order for bed linen so we can get started making beds and getting prepared,” Stewart said.

Hallways are wider and rooms are larger than the original facility, which was built in 1975. The dining room is open and inviting and a new “day room” has been added. There’s also a beauty salon and an enlarged therapy department.

There are also plans for a courtyard with a cedar pavilion where a plaque will bare the names of all the residents and staff here the night of the tornado.

Folks who live in this Craighead County town said the manor’s rebirth is highly anticipated.

“A lot of families around here have people at that home and so it will be nice for them to be local again and be able to see their families,” said Jenni Staggs.

The new Monette Manor is licensed for 86 beds.

Kevin Stewart said staff are aiming for an open house date of August 8 and plan to start admitting residents the following Monday.