In mid-2017, Lifespace Communities announced plans to embark on multimillion-dollar expansion and redevelopment projects at various communities. The endeavors were aimed at bolstering services and amenities provided to residents while ensuring the organization meets the changing needs of seniors well into the future. The projects included:
- A new assisted living and memory care building, fitness center, spa, restaurant, and redesigned exterior features at Abbey Delray.
- A new building with 50 new assisted living apartments, 32 memory support suites, and various amenities and wellness services at Friendship Village of South Hills.
- A new, modern-design health center with 66 catered living (assisted living) apartments, 28 memory support suites, and 102 skilled nursing suites at Oak Trace.
It’s been a little over a year since the announcement, and the expansions are “coming together quite nicely,” according to Lifespace Director of Program Management Tracy Smalley. Smalley, who plays a lead role on the initiatives, recently provided some fresh insight into their progress:
What major milestones are you expecting to reach in the near future?
The health center expansion at Oak Trace is on schedule to be completed spring 2019. Friendship Village of South Hills and Abbey Delray will follow suit during the summer and fall, respectively. Paint is on the walls, and we’re installing carpet at Oak Trace as we speak. The new auditorium at Abbey Delray will open as a temporary dining space for residential living this quarter, and the commons wing at South Hills will also be completed during this period.
What are some of the key new offerings?
An on-site, full-service dialysis center and new occupational, physical and speech therapy spaces are some of the standout features of the new Oak Trace health center. Residents will have access to quality specialized care with the convenience of not having to leave the building to receive it.
This will also be the first time dedicated assisted living and memory care will be available on campus at Abbey Delray and South Hills. Transitioning between levels of living will be much easier for residents with this complete continuum of care on-site. We’re also adding new assisted living fitness centers with new equipment at all three communities to support our wellness and active aging initiatives.
What energy efficiencies have you been able to implement in the projects?
One of the key ways we’re limiting our energy usage is by installing more efficient lighting systems. This includes LED lighting, which the U.S. Department of Energy foresees as having the greatest potential impact on future energy savings. We’re also installing energy-efficient windows and HVAC systems in our buildings.
Have you been able to incorporate any cost efficiencies?
Yes. We’ve taken full advantage of our group purchasing power through our own procurement department at the Lifespace home office, which has helped us get discounts on construction materials and other necessary items. Partnering with large construction firms and national interior design agencies has also helped save capital because of the relationships these companies have with suppliers.
It sure sounds like everything is running as smoothly as possible. What do you credit this to?
Resident and team member support, which has been widespread and encouraging. We were also very particular about who we chose to partner with for these projects. Our development consultants, architects and building contractors are specialists in senior living. They’re knowledgeable about designing and building residences that can fully support successful aging, so this has been a huge plus.
What about other significant expansion and redevelopment projects?
We’re still moving through the planning stages for major expansion projects at Friendship Village of Bloomington, Village on the Green, and The Waterford. We also continue to complete capital improvement projects at all 12 Lifespace communities as part of our promise to reinvest in our buildings and consistently upgrade amenities and services.
[In the photo: Aerial shot of the Oak Trace expansion project.]
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