The New Kid on Campus: Designing for Non-Traditional Students

When asked to picture a college student, the typical representation is a young adult – anywhere between 18-22 years old. They are probably wearing jeans and possibly a shirt emblazoned with the name of the institution that they attend. While that image fits the simple majority of students, it doesn’t represent all of them.Graph depicting percentage of traditional and non-traditional students

Despite the overall numbers of students enrolled in higher education decreasing, the number of non-traditional students attending classes has been steadily increasing. In fact, research from Higher Learning Advocates shows that in Pennsylvania 37% of college students today are over 25. Continue reading

SENIOR CARE CONUNDRUM: Skilled Nursing Rightsizing Strategies

Skilled Nursing Rightsizing Strategies are the Senior Care Conundrum Nonprofit Life Plan Communities face the conundrum of upholding longstanding missions to provide lifelong care, regardless of residents’ means or abilities, while facing escalating financial pressures on operations. Skilled nursing rightsizing is unique to each senior living provider, but it typically entails downsizing “high care” and managing the payor mix. Continue reading

Low-Floor Learning

Low-floor seating options at Rossmoyne Elementary School

Students need to have flexible seating options.

For anyone who has completed a K-12 education, it’s highly likely that his/her least favorite part of the school day was sitting in a desk. And just sitting there. All day. Yet, when we consider the history of formal education, not much has changed when it comes to sitting at a desk. Over 150 years ago students were sitting at desks in one room schoolhouses. If you walk into a K-12 building today, you’ll likely still see students sitting in desks; however, research shows that children don’t perform their best when they’re sitting all day. So how do we address this issue? We need to take a holistic look at the research as well as investigate and implement new low-floor learning ideas to create future ready seating options for students. Continue reading

THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION: Determining Senior Living Project Costs

“We love the design concept, but what will it cost to build?”

Cost estimating has always been a critical component in the planning process for senior living projects, which in the not-for-profit world have often involved bond financing. In today’s economy it is that much more important to answer this question early. But at the same time it’s increasingly challenging due to market volatility, worker shortages and lingering supply chain issues.

So how can you budget, and ultimately control costs, for your next senior living project?  It starts with understanding a few fundamentals. 

What Goes into a Cost Projection?

Cost projections are so much more than a standard cost per square foot.  There are a myriad of factors that must be taken into account:

Project Scope: is the foundational program menu of spaces, functions, capacity and sizes.  It’s when goals and aspirations are merged with quantitative requirements.

Project Size: is calculated in terms of gross and net square footage.

  • Gross floor area includes everything within a building’s exterior walls.
  • Net floor area is the usable square footage excluding walls, columns, lobbies, corridors, stairways, elevators, closets and utility chases.

Grossing Factor: refers to the ratio of revenue generating (living units) to common areas, utilities and wall spaces. It is impacted by building shape and program components.

  • A straightforward linear building typically has a lower grossing factor than a structure with bends or curves.
  • Smaller building types have a higher grossing factor than a larger building with more living units, such as a hybrid home versus a larger apartment building or a small house versus a larger care setting.
  • Social spaces on each floor of an apartment building increase the grossing factor. For senior care settings, a medical model typically has a lower grossing factor than a household model which tends to have more common spaces.

Download the Senior Living Project Cost White Paper:

To continue reading  about what goes into project costs, as well as factors that drive costs, strategies to control project costs and the cost of doing nothing, download the Whitepaper via the form below.

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Additional Resources: 

For more senior living topics, trends, projects and information about Hybrid Homes, Memory Care, Reinvention and more, check out our Resources Page.

Interior Design: Understanding the profession and the value of NCIDQ Certification

RLPS recently celebrated an interiors team member passing the National Certification for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam and earning his professional competency and expertise in the trade. If you’re unfamiliar with the industry, you might not understand the importance of this milestone.

Stacy Hollinger Main, RLPS partner, shares that

“anyone who studies Interior Design should value his/her education enough to take the next step in the process which is [NCIDQ] examination. At RLPS, one of our missions is to help mentor young people in both architecture and interior design to take the leap into being a professional. This is one of the key goals of our practice – to cultivate personal development. Interior Design is a young profession, so it is imperative that we also educate the public to the level of standards that NCIDQ Certificate holders possess.”

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Cheers to New Interior Design Trends This Year

Interior design trends at Village on the Isle (Venice, FL), Phoebe Berks (Wernersville, PA), The Vistas at Willow Valley (Lancaster, PA) and Southern Market (Lancaster, PA)

The start of a new year means there are new interior design trends to explore and incorporate into living, learning and working spaces. The adage “What is old is new again” is a theme woven throughout this year’s interior design trends. These styles put a modern spin on classic ideas while others draw inspiration from the natural world. Vintage-inspired warm colors and natural floral designs appear in textiles, tile, paint colors and wallcoverings. Natural materials, such as the use of wood in caning and woven surfaces, elicit imagery of artisan makers who predate the industrialized production of goods.

We sat down with some of our interior designers to discuss interior design trends and how they are incorporating the trends into their projects.

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How Lovely Are Your Branches? Tips For Decorating The Tree

tree design The center of attention and activity, the Christmas tree embodies the unique combination of nostalgia, good will and hope associated with the holidays. Many of the same ideas that apply to decorating your home are also important to keep in mind for a beautiful tree that expresses your style while fostering holiday spirit for everyone who sees it.

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Interior Renovations: Budget-Friendly & Brand-Building with Big Benefits

Interior Designers discuss options for an upcoming project

Higher education institutions understand the importance of evolving and changing with the times; making campus updates is among the top priorities from year to year. Rather than initiate a large construction project, institutions are staying current with small-scale interior renovations to underutilized areas of campus that need reimagining.

Combining interior renovations with upgraded furniture can provide a large impact through projects that can be completed in a shorter timeframe and don’t exhaust the annual budget. These quick-hitting projects aim to improve the value an institution provides to its students and reinforce the branded experience intended for campus.

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Moving Day

Dropping Your Child Off at College: A Parent’s Perspective

Parents and student getting ready for college moving day

The end of summer brings many things: shorter days, cooler weather and the first day of classes. For first-time college students, moving day and the prospect of living away from home for the very first time can be an exciting time. From the rush of receiving an acceptance letter to the campus that was first choice to the hours spent shopping to get the perfect accessories to decorate a new room, it’s a non-stop adventure.

As a firm that provides higher education planning and design, we focus on the campus experience and how it affects students, faculty, staff and parents. Lessons learned from our own teams’ experience offer insights that we can apply to future design. Two of our RLPS team members who recently dropped off their children at college for their first year were nice enough to share their experiences. Along with recounting how moving went, they also let us know how their kids… and they are adjusting.

The parents on our staff began with completely opposite levels of experience with preparing and dropping off children at college. One parent was moving their youngest of three children to an out-of-state university, a few hours’ drive away. The other was moving their oldest child to a college closer to home. Despite the marked difference in the distance travelled and parental familiarity with moving kids to college, they had similar experiences and feelings.

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