Located in Florida, The Village at Gainesville is a senior living community looking to plan for their future. They offer a choice of senior living residences as well as assisted living and memory care. Master planning goals included adding 100+ independent living residences in multiple phases, replacing small apartment units and consolidating memory care into a new state of the art assisted living and assisted living memory care building. It was also important to work around legacy trees and preserved land as the master plan developed.
Stakeholder Engagement in Master Planning
Current residents, prospective residents, board members, and The Village at Gainesville leadership participated in a mix of in person focus groups and online surveys that provided valuable input regarding the future of the community. Several reoccurring themes impacted master planning such as respect for the campus’s natural surroundings, opportunities to strengthen the campus culture, wanting stronger connections with both a nearby college and a university, and the desire for more on-campus services.
Master Plan Results
The final plan takes a phased approach that expands the housing and amenities on campus and creates new assisted living and assisted living memory care residences while maintaining the natural beauty and outdoor character of the existing community.
Master planning for Three Pillars Senior Living Communities, founded in 1905, explored opportunities for multi-generational appeal. Residential options will be expanded in multiple phases to provide more diverse lifestyle offerings to both senior and non-senior users. The design is a diverse, walkable, intergenerational village. The master plan incorporates elements of new urbanism, mixed‐use design and intentional placemaking.
Engaging Stakeholders in Master Planning for Intergenerational Appeal
Focus groups with residents, waitlist members, community members and Dousman representatives provided valuable input regarding resources and amenities to serve local residents of all ages such as a child daycare and workforce housing. Connections will be fostered through shared living experiences—whether dining at the uniquely Wisconsin “supper club,” gardening in the adjacent agrihood or participating in events, like a pop-up farmer’s market, on the Center Green
Master Planning Principles for Multi-Phased Implementation
Master planning concepts for Three Pillars’ expansion were tested against guiding principles:
- Greater Community Focus: the expansion faces outward rather than focusing inward. New residences and gathering spaces are visible from the street. Each amenity space—the bistro, maker space, fitness, performing arts, pub, salon, etc.—has its own door from the Main Street.
- Education Focus: community additions position Three Pillars as an educational resource for campus residents and the greater community. A new Community Resource Center is focused on supporting people living with dementia while settings such as the performance space, maker spaces and garden agrihood provide lifelong learning and personal development opportunities.
- Nature Focus: focus groups identified a strong affinity for the natural beauty of the campus. The expansion extends existing walking trails and improves river access for kayaking or passive enjoyment. The undeveloped portion of the expansion parcel will continue as farmland for intentional stewardship of the property.
- Placemaking Focus: Three existing historic, stone structures have been elevated to a central position on the new town square. Rehabilitating these buildings reflects a respect for the community legacy while defining the next generation of campus life.
Continued Evolution of Dementia-Capable Spaces
An essential component of the master plan was supporting Three Pillars’ commitment to maintaining a dementia-capable community. Along with creating new residential small houses, the master plan calls for a Community Resource Center to serve as an asset for Southeastern Wisconsin lake country. The center will provide targeted support for campus residents and community members living with dementia and their families.
Renovations to this 21,942 square feet, three-story, fully-occupied and operational healthcare building encompassed upgrades to waiting areas, corridors, evaluation rooms, administrative areas and therapy spaces with accommodations for bariatric patients. We utilized nature-inspired finishes and artwork along with bright pops of contemporary color to create a comfortable, healing environment.
Photo Credit: Nathan Cox Photography
These new independent living residences, consisting of 54 cottages and 36 apartments, are the next step in Carolina Village’s multi-year plan for strategic growth. The Lakeside Apartments are located next to the community’s Tranquil Lake, which is home to abundant waterfowl and pleasant landscaping. Discrete parking is provided under the building. The Clear Creek Cottage neighborhood is made up of six duplexes and seven 6-plexes. These homes take advantage of the terrain to provide multiple single-story residences, all with ground-level entrances maximizing the hillside site. Both the apartments and cottages reflect the community’s Smoky Mountain aesthetic featuring wooden post and beam details and stacked stone.
Each Lakeside residence steps back from the one beside it allowing unobstructed views of the nearby mountains. Every residence’s large picture window and balcony or patio highlight these views and allow abundant natural light to stream indoors.
The outdoor space is customized to each homeowner’s preferences – everything from full four-season, three-season, screened-in, or open balconies and patios. Yet, each was carefully designed to maintain a similar aesthetic creating pleasingly complimentary cottage and apartment exteriors.
What began as the need for tool storage near the community garden plots evolved into a clubhouse with a uniquely cantilevered roof covering an outdoor patio gathering space. The clubhouse boasts floor-to-ceiling windows and a cozy fireplace surrounding a large open multi-purpose space. Bathrooms and the original garden tool storage are also part of this striking amenity.
Photo credit: Nathan Cox Photography
The next step in implementing the Meadowood campus master plan involved adding a new independent living residential offering on a portion of the existing senior living campus. Four hybrid home buildings, each comprised of two floors of residences over under-building parking, surround a new campus pond, fire pit, seating areas, and pergola to be enjoyed by the entire community.
The 52 residences range between 1300-1800 SF and each has its own corner view that allows in ample daylight. Each unit also features a balcony or patio in addition to contemporary features, full laundry rooms, and walk-in closets in each bedroom. Each floor is also anchored by a central seating area where residents can gather to socialize.Learn More About Hybrid Homes
Photo Credit: Nathan Cox Photography
Replacing the 35-year-old Luke Haven Health Center on the landlocked 16-acre Village On the Isle (VOTI) life plan community campus required leadership vision, mission-driven decision-making, and innovative partnerships. The new Health and Rehabilitation Center slightly increases skilled nursing census from 60 to 64 while allowing VOTI to provide private suites in hospitality-inspired households.
Innovative Partnerships are Integral to the New Health and Rehabilitation Center
To pave the way for the new building and water feature, VOTI worked out a land swap with neighboring Emmanuel Lutheran Church and also provided a covered breezeway to the church, so residents who choose to worship there can stay dry when it rains. The drive under canopy also aides the VOTI supported Meal on Wheels program to keep volunteers out of the elements.
The community has subsequently partnered with Tidewell Hospice who will occupy eight of the 64 private suites to provide an inpatient hospice care unit for VOTI residents and members of the surrounding community in need of around-the-clock care. VOTI is also working with The Green House Project, through their 2.0 Initiative, to continue the comprehensive cultural transformation made possible with the new Health and Rehabilitation Center. This includes staff training which incorporates technology and case-based learning.
New Campus Entryway is Through the Health and Rehabilitation Center
The ground floor of the new center serves as the new main entryway for VOTI with a large porch leading into a concierge-staffed front desk in the lobby and a hospitality lounge for residents, guests and staff members. A courtyard along the side of the building leads to an outdoor patio overlooking a new water feature. The ground floor also includes 32 under building parking spaces and serves as the covered ambulance pick up, exercise and rehabilitation services and equipment, as well as the main production kitchen.
Varied accent colors are used on household entrance doors and outside resident suites to provide visual interest while aiding wayfinding. Interior detailing such as wainscot in the suites and an extensive artwork collection, highlighted by pieces from local artists, reinforce the campus-wide gracious, island living design aesthetic.
Hospitality-Inspired Skilled Nursing Households
Four 16-resident households comprise the second and third floors. Each person has their own room with a triple window bay and private bathroom with a large, fully accessible shower. Individual households include a generously-sized great room comprised of a kitchen, dining area and living room. Second floor terraces provide another opportunity for residents to enjoy the outdoors / exterior and water feature. A behind-the-scenes pantry/delivery area is positioned between the two kitchens on each floor. Dedicated household staff socialize, cook and serve family-style meals, and care for residents on their respective floors. The new Health and Rehabilitation center also includes parlors on both floors, as well as an activity room, a media room and salon.
Award: Third Place in Skilled Nursing/Post Acute Care Category, Senior Housing News Architecture and Design Awards
Photo Credit; Nathan Cox Photography
The first of their kind in Florida, the Emerald Terraces introduced a new hybrid housing model to the Village on the Isle campus. The Emerald Terraces have parking on the ground floor, as well as covered sidewalk access to community center amenities. Each residence functions as a corner unit with multi-directional views and the added benefit of private lanais without visual or noise distractions from neighbors.
A Community within a Community
Each hybrid building includes a top floor community room for residents to gather together or entertain guests. The main clubroom area features a flexible great room space with a catering kitchen, comfortable seating, tables, stackable chairs and a large screen television. A sliding barn door leads into a modest fitness room that provides residents with easy access to wellness equipment. Retractable walls in both the clubroom and fitness area provide a seamless outdoor connection and enable events to spill out onto the large outdoor deck.
Age-Friendly Design for Hybrid Homes
Each building has 23 one- and two-bedroom residences ranging from approximately 1,250 square feet to 1,600 square feet of living space in an open floor plan. The residences are carefully detailed in accordance with universal design principles for people of varying ages and abilities without compromising the upscale residential design aesthetic. Accessibility, from door clearances to space templates, is designed into all homes to accommodate active residents, those who require assistance from a spouse or caregiver, and those who utilize wheelchairs or scooters to maintain their independent mobility. Supportive features such as elevated vanities and extra blocking in walls to accommodate shower grab rails, if needed, are discreetly integrated into the contemporary design.
Sustainable Design Features
Energy efficient, hurricane impact-resident windows and doors, continuous insulation, LED lighting and energy star appliances are just a few of the features built into the homes. Low or zero emitting floor coverings, paints, adhesives and composite woods have been specified as well as recycled content and regionally extracted and manufactured materials. Locating parking on the first floor under the homes offers the additional benefits of less impervious surface space being needed.
Learn More About Hybrid Homes
RLPS really takes an owner’s position in the planning and design process—they took the time to understand our needs way before “putting a pencil to any paper.”
Joel Anderson, CEO
Photo Credit: Nathan Cox Photography
Constructed front and center on an existing campus, these senior living apartments and community center connect lifelong learning, holistic wellness and vibrant community.
Community Front Door for Lifelong Learning and Wellness
Located in the heart of campus and visible from the adjacent roadway, the new Learning and Wellness Center fills the need for a community front door. Designed to be a bustling center of activity where connections flourish, the main floor houses a bistro and lounge, art gallery, salon and spa, business center, bank, pharmacy, and auditorium to support the community’s Pathways Institute for Lifelong Learning® classes and other educational and entertainment programs. Spiritual wellness is encouraged in The Quiet Place, a series of small rooms for meditation. The new center also allowed for a consolidation of administrative offices into one central location.
Fitness spaces are located on the ground floor with both internal access and a separate entrance for residents walking, biking or driving from other parts of campus. This area includes a four-lane lap and therapy pool and a spa pool with natural lighting, a state-of-the-art cardio and strength training room with equipment designed for an active aging population and a wellness studio to support group classes.
The Crossings Apartments replaced older single homes with higher density housing that reflects current consumer demands. These new residences provide an indoor connection to community amenities and feature a mix of one bedroom plus den, two bedroom and two bedroom plus den apartments ranging from 1,253 to 1,569 square feet. Open floor plans, natural light and abundant storage were the priorities for these residences. Each apartment also includes one under-building covered parking space.
This project also includes an interior pedestrian bridge over the driveway to provide an interior connection to this campus hub. Residents, team members and visitors are able to walk under cover from the Health Care and Personal Care houses, through The Crossings and the Learning & Wellness Center, and all the way to the apartments on the west side of the community. President/CEO Larry Zook shared that bringing the different parts of campus together under one roof was something residents and team members have dreamed of for many years.Learn more about Wellness
Hospitality was the focus of this project, which implemented long-anticipated updates to the community center and outdoor amenities for this University-based retirement community. Opened in 2004, the Village at Penn State had not implemented planned second phase additions until after merging with Liberty Lutheran Services in 2012.
A Unique Partnership Creates Palmer Park Outdoor Amenities
Palmer Park is a first-of-its kind fully landscaped park and gardens, featuring professionally contoured golf putting and practice areas, a village green and a multi-purpose area. Designed and completed by the Arnold Palmer Design Company, Palmer Park includes a nine-hole putting course plus a couple of additional holes that bear all the aspects and storied history of the Arnold Palmer signature brand. The synthetic green requires less maintenance than grass, particularly factoring in the region’s sometimes challenging weather conditions.
Palmer Park is complemented by adjacent gardens, walkways and a bistro terrace for al fresco dining. The terrace features a pergola system for sun control as well as outdoor dining and fire pit seating. The park includes a grass lawn area for natural wellness activities such as croquet and yoga, or special events; a town-square type clock; and a bocce court.
Implementing Phase 2 Community Center Additions
The community center was designed in Phase 1 to function effectively when the Village opened, but was planned from the start to be reoriented and expanded as the community grew. The expansion provides a centralized community hub that creates the desired entry experience and connects resident living spaces with amenities and services. A new entry drive and porte cochere lead into the commons addition which includes a new main lobby, reception, and marketing suite. The existing library was renovated to expand views from the lobby towards Penn State University’s neighboring Beaver Stadium. Additionally, existing corridors received fresh finishes, and the former multi-purpose space and creamery have become the bistro, a new casual dining option featuring a hearth oven and display cooking.
The final piece of the puzzle is a new one-story, 6,200 SF community building. At the center of this building is a 165 seat multipurpose auditorium with raised stage to host, among other things, on-site Road Scholar classes and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) classes. This community gathering space also serves as a conditioned connector between the existing skilled care building, personal care household and the rest of the Village at Penn State community. Other than the cottages on the perimeter of the campus, all buildings are now connected as a result of this community building addition.
Bring In Outside Community
Renovation of a former café created Health and Harrow—a restaurant, private dining room, bistro, coffee bar, and outdoor patio—to enhance campus life and help to bring the outside community into Pleasant View. This not only provides an additional dining venue for a town that has limited restaurant options, but the extra income also helps to maintain – and even increase – Pleasant View’s benevolence to its residents.
Large storefront windows replace bay windows and a rarely used vestibule just off the patio has been repurposed as two dining alcoves in the front of the bistro. Outdoor connections are highlighted with expanded windows, many with sills less than a foot above the ground, patio dining with a variety of seating options, and a renovated fountain featuring work by a local sculptor.
Hearth and Harrow highlights its local agrarian setting via hand-cut local tiles, local art, textured glass panels from a local glass supplier, reclaimed barn wood, and Edison bulbs inspired by nearby family farms. The name highlights the signature hearth feature and connects back to Pleasant View’s heritage of the family farm reflecting an operational goal to partner with local, Lancaster County food vendors and bring the Farm-to-Table movement to the community.
Photo Credit: Nathan Cox Photography