Case Studies

Olson Pavilion at Lutheran Home: Upgrading Facilities for Residents’ Quality of Life

  • Written by: Olson Pavilion at Lutheran Home: Upgrading Facilities for Residents' Quality of Life
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Lutheran Home, located in Arlington Heights, Ill., is the original campus for Lutheran Life Communities, an Illinois-based organization known for its innovative approach to senior living. Lutheran Home is recognized as one of the finest senior living communities in the country, and is currently undergoing an extensive addition and renovation project. The $50 million facelift is geared toward providing the latest in senior care to the residents of Lutheran Home.

The Lutheran Home project features the repositioning of the campus’ skilled nursing facility, Olson Pavilion. The renovation of Olson Pavilion’s existing 126,000-square foot space includes reconfiguring 252 beds with shared toilet rooms down to 162 private rooms with private baths. The expansion, which is approximately 83,000 square feet, will be a new transitional care, 78-room addition that connects to Olson Pavilion through a new two-story structure to accommodate expanded resident wellness and therapy programming.

Wisconsin-based Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction Inc. (Hoffman) is overseeing the multiphase project. Hoffman is a total project management firm specializing in the planning, design and construction of senior living and healthcare facilities. Joe Truehart, senior project manager for Hoffman, is coordinating the work at Olson Pavilion, along with Walsh Construction Company, the Chicago-based general contractor on the project. Olson Pavillion’s construction began in October 2012 and is expected to be complete by May 2016.

“What they’re doing is improving the spaces throughout the facility by taking three rooms and turning them into two, so that every room can have a private bath,” says Truehart. Related site work improvements include reconfiguring and reconstructing the existing surface parking areas, as well as the relocation of the main electrical service and transformers.

Specialized Work Environment

The campus remains open and operational while work continues on Olson Pavilion, which creates a specialized work environment for all entities involved. Hoffman has extensive experience working in senior housing, both in new construction and large-scale renovations. The company specializes in creating inviting designs to meet the latest trends in senior living and care. Such experience will be relied on throughout the project, as Truehart reports that Olson Pavilion provides its own sets of challenges.

Lutheran Home is located in a residential area, which causes unique challenges in itself. “This caused many issues initially as neighbors were concerned about the anticipated work,” says Truehart. The neighbors concerns included noise level, obstruction to roads as construction was underway, and what the final product would look like. Truehart notes that many neighbors were concerned that Olson Pavilion would negatively impact the value of their homes. However, Hoffman and the project team put those to rest.

Once initial concerns were overcome, approvals were gained and work started in October. However, at that time additional issues began presenting themselves. Because work must be complete while the existing facility remains open, the project team is required to take extra care to ensure utilities are maintained in the building. In addition, Hoffman ensures that day-to-day living and safety of the residents isn’t disrupted or compromised during the renovations.

“Every day we’re faced with issues by keeping the facility in operation 24/7,” says Truehart. “It’s a significant task. It’s not like losing power at your home. If power is lost here, there are bigger consequences.”

Meaningful Projects

Hoffman’s project approach centers on collaboration with clients and key stakeholders. Hoffman listens to each end-user during the project’s planning phase, which helps the team understand the organization the company is partnering with, as well as the individual’s long-term goals and the space needs and requirements of its occupants. During numerous senior living projects, this has included resident input, as well. Hoffman has partnered with Lutheran Life Communities on multiple projects throughout the country, and Truehart prefers these projects over previous commercial projects he has worked on.

“I really enjoy working with the groups of people that will be living or working in these facilities,” he details. “It’s a rewarding experience for me to see the expressions on their faces when the project is complete. It’s a great feeling.”

Truehart’s passion is ideal for the Lutheran Home project. Lutheran Life Communities entrusted Hoffman to create an innovative, multipurpose facility, which is warm and inviting for senior residents while also remaining focused for short-term patients preferring a hospitality setting.

The renovation and addition at Olson Pavilion will achieve the national shift toward resident-centered care, which features private rooms while introducing a transitional care element that addresses modernization and keeps Lutheran Home a cutting-edge facility. Upon its opening, Olson Pavilion at Lutheran Home will surely be a premier facility for the aging population of Illinois.

Published on: March 28, 2013

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