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Master planning.

The first step in turning architectural "dreams" into built "reality" is a comprehensive master Plan. Too often a skilled nursing facility will jump right into a renovation project and end up creating a road block to future facility improvements.

The Master Plan becomes a "road map" and would identify your current land holdings, existing buildings and possible building configurations for all future companions. This feasibility study would identify zoning issues, physical constraints, available utilities arid natural site opportunities. The final product would include a conceptual program and cost estimate.

"Renovate or Build New?"

The question of updating and enhancing existing skilled nursing facilities as Opposed to starting fresh with now construction can be easily evaluated through the Master Plan process.

We are working with Mr. Bruce Nikkel, Administrator of the Bethany Home Society of San Joaquin County in Ripon, California, on just such a challenge. The long-range planning committee has considered Potential options as they are presented.

In the analysis phase of our service, new and different uses for existing nursing units were discovered. Site opportunities were uncovered which had not been considered in previous long-range planning.

Specifically, we were able to site a new Alzheimer's wing on a parcel at the front of the main facility. Even though this is still well back from the street, the planning committee and Mr. Nikkel hadn't considered this as a site for expansion. It worked because the nursing station, which is located at the front of the building, could now be pivotal between the main facility and the Alzheimer's wing. No additional nursing staff was needed.

Meanwhile, the Master Plan has acquired some uses of its own. Mr. Nikkel has not taken down the drawings from his office wall. He says that by leaving them displayed, he is constantly gaining insight through comments on the plans from interested staff and Board members. The concepts identified in the presentation continue to be tested on a daily basis (see photo and inset).

"The First Impression is the Lasting


When families choose a long term care facility, their first reaction to the existing environment is often what triggers a positive or negative response. Today, architects provide interior Design Master Plans" which can establish when, where and how refurbishment funds should be spent. We have seen success in updating the entry areas, lobbies and central common areas of existing skilled nursing facilities, designed to Provide new "curb appeal" and a marketing edge over the competition.

At one point in a particular Interior Design Master Plan, the facilities director for a national nursing home chain requested that we prepare a "menu" of furniture and furnishings packages for the member homes. Each was based upon a different residential theme and separate color concept, but the packages were to be within common budget constraints. This approach allowed administrators to pick and choose from a variety of options, and we were able to involve each in the design process.

These Master Plan techniques provide a broad brush lance at how to design specific environment well-being and needs of a facility's residents and family members without overlooking that facility's staff efficiency and economy.

"Where Should The

Storage Building Go?"

We recently became involved with what at first appeared as a simple decision. Bethel Lutheran Home, a small Continuing Care Community in Selma, California, requested assistance in looking at site options for a small 3,500 square foot storage building to house such items as wheelchair parts, lawn maintenance equipment and the like.

Upon asking questions of Kaylene Steele, the administrator, the question was raised whether a "Site Selection/ Master Plan" was in order before the new storage structure was cited and built. Although small in size, it had special requirements - for example, adequate space for large delivery truck to maneuver in, as well as close access to the main facility. But, besides adding a small building, Bethel Lutheran had other, more long-range plans for their overall campus: a cottage development for independent living, a replacement of a skilled nursing wing with personal care beds, and a kitchen to service the cottages.

The planning committee was forced with the decision of either going ahead and building the storage building with the money in-hand or waiting to site it as part of an overall Master Plan. Though the decision had not been finalized as of this writing, the point is that the committee was now thinking about its large campus in global terms in order to coordinate all its plans.

Planning For An "Image Change"

Recently, our firm was commissioned to prepare a brief Master Plan study of two Continuing Care Communities. We provided Rev. Robert Schlicht a "Design/Image Study" of the Lutheran Home facilities in Belle Plaine, Minnesota and River Falls, Wisconsin.

As CEO, Reverend Schlicht was key to shaping die physical forms of building additions. He asked us to introduce "Circular Forms" to his Bene Plaine campus, hoping to break away from the square character of existing buildings. The proposed day care, dining activities and corporate conference office additions are composed of half-circular building shapes.

The end product included a series of site diagrams which tested common visions for future site developments. A picture is often worth a thousand words, so three-dimensional sketches of key features were rendered. Costs for the potential campus enhancements were estimated. In sum, these Master Plan Studies became a valuable tool in organizing the Lutheran Homes' renovation priorities, expansion opportunities and long range fiscal planning.

Master Planning Produces Results

We trust that the findings of any Master Plan study will help establish a "starting point" for subsequent physical facility improvements or innovations. Decision makers may find themselves becoming enthused by the potential for an improved environment, but tile real test of any Master Plan is the level of support and implementation that it stimulates. Look ahead-carefully-and you will never look back.
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Title Annotation:guides to avoid financial difficulty while constructing
Author:Rauma, Peter
Publication:Nursing Homes
Date:May 1, 1992
Previous Article:Affordable innovation on a limited budget.
Next Article:Preserving the old while building the new.

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