East meets midwest: thoughtful planning brings east coast luxury to a midwest facility

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East meets midwest: thoughtful planning brings east coast luxury to a midwest facility
East meets midwest: thoughtful planning brings east coast luxury to a midwest facility
The grand hotels of New England are a resort destination for many Americans. They exude a sense of comfort and tasteful luxury for all who visit.

The architects and designers of Meramec Bluffs in Ballwin, MO, wanted to bring a piece of that splendor to the seniors who would occupy the continuing care retirement community. But transplanting the feel of a New England hotel to the Midwest takes a great deal of planning, patience and time.

First things first

Construction on Meramec Bluffs wrapped up in September of 2008, but planning began in August of 1999, says Steve Meeks, vice president with the Paric Corporation, a construction firm that worked on the project.  
“We put a lot into the front end of this,” he says.

Paric teamed up with Perkins Eastman Architects and ACI Boland for much of the actual design of Meramec Bluffs. Together, they came up with a complete concept and design, including schematics, a layout and an overall look of the facility upon its completion.

Construction on the first phase of the project began in 2000 with the independent living apartments and most of the facility's many amenities. Crews also took the opportunity to lay the groundwork for the rest of the project.

“We basically did the infrastructure on the site, which was 50 acres worth of site work and roads and sewers and water,” Meeks says. “That was all phase one.”

Work on Meramec Bluffs took a pause in 2003 while the facility welcomed its first residents, but swung back into full force in 2004. The second phase included more independent living units, as well as a number of new patio homes. Phases three and four brought a 65,900-square-foot skilled nursing facility and a number of assisted
living apartments.

Clever convenience

By building the amenities and laying the foundation for the rest of the facility's infrastructure first, workers were able to minimize any disruptions to the residents, says Mark Schoedel, vice president of construction with Lutheran Senior Services, which owns and operates the complex.

“No residents had to get up and relocate as additional phases were added on,” he says.

Meramec Bluffs offers a number of resources for residents, including an on-site bank, library, computer room and chapel, complete with a picturesque stained glass window that was donated by one of the residents, according to Schoedel.

Where architects and designers really hit the mark, though, was on the interior design, Meeks says. Designers did more than just pick out paint samples and carpet swatches—they coordinated all wings of the facility through clever use of artwork, furnishings, patterns and colors.

“We have maroon and green alternating floors with different patterns, so the residents, when they come off the elevator, know immediately if they're on their floor by color and by pattern,” Meeks explains.