EdenHill in New Braunfels, TX, has a diverse mix of populations to care for within its 216 units and 20-acre campus. With roots in the 1950s, the community, however, is now entrenched in the 21st century.

That’s thanks largely to a $42 million renovation project that dates back to 2015.

EdenHill is a life plan community managing a comprehensive portfolio of care programs. It has 104 independent living, 60 skilled nursing, 22 assisted living and 30 memory care residents.

Without its new infrastructure, such an ambitious array of services would not be possible, says Rockland Berg, principal of the Dallas-based architecture firm Three: Living Architecture.

Drawing upon a renovation strategy of “Create a plan and work the plan,” Berg, his design team and representatives from EdenHill set forth to substantially augment the “old bones” of the original structure.

The scope of the work is extensive, starting with the creation of the Fischer Rehabilitation Center in 2015, followed by physical and occupational therapy rooms, new dining areas, a kitchen expansion, administrative offices, a swimming pool and a wellness center. 

It consisted of renovation, expansion and repositioning of existing structures while residents continued living there.

The “create a plan and work the plan” approach depends on getting consensus among owners, operators and residents, Berg says.

“Resident buy-in is especially important for a project of this scale — they need to feel invested since their lives will be disrupted during construction,” he says. “That means communicating with residents, family and staff not just at the outset, but regularly and at all major milestones. If they can see and understand how things will improve when the work is complete, they will endure the inconvenience more readily.”

High-end rehab

With sophisticated new infrastructure in place, EdenHill has the capacity for comprehensive short-term rehab and other clinical services. Medical director Michael S. Vrana, M.D., leads the Fischer Rehabilitation Center.

He equipped the center with high-end rehab equipment, such as a suspensory gait system that helps patients safely begin walking again; recumbent cross-trainers; a biomechanical ankle platform; and a dynamic stair trainer that hydraulically adjusts the step to any height to simulate the home environment.

Contingency planning

Action plans for unexpected situations also are a must, Berg says. For example, he says the development team typically must differentiate elements and features which are needed versus those that are wanted.

“The art to this strategy lies in designing and scheduling construction in ways that allow for seamless integration of ‘wanted’ elements, should the opportunities arise,” he says. “Being able to design a project without the amenity, but then add it late in the game takes careful advance logistical planning in terms of infrastructure.”