• Home Case Study: Llanfair
  • Project overview
    6,259 square foot chapel, 4,900 square foot wellness center
    Ohio Presbyterian Retirement Systems
    JMM Architects
  • Case Study: Llanfair Retirement Community

    The influential MacArthur Foundation Study of Successful Aging sought to answer a single provocative question: What are the factors that contribute to successful aging? The results were clear — exercise, social engagement and a positive mental attitude.

    Llanfair, a continuing care retirement community in the historic College Hill neighborhood of Cincinnati, reflects this conclusion. With the recent addition of a Wellness Center and a 6,259-square-foot Chapel, the opportunities for ample exercise and community-wide social and spiritual engagement are no longer hindered by space constraints.

    “The new chapel allows us to come together as a community spiritually. It holds over 100 people and has moveable seating adaptable for walkers and wheelchairs. It also has a moveable wall that we can expand into the campus center so that everyone can attend,” said Sheena Parton, executive director of Llanfair.

    The chapel is an impressive, cavernous space with tongue and groove ceilings and handcrafted oak support beams. “It is beautiful and the residents love it,” Parton said. “The chapel will be the focal point for our community for years to come.”

    At Llanfair, the focus on holistic health is reflected in the acronym SIPS, or spiritual, intellectual, physical and social. “We emphasize to the residents that they need to have their daily sips. The remodeling addressed those needs,” she said. “It’s about being holistic and taking an approach to wellness that is preventative. These additions allow us to empower our residents to make choices toward a more successful lifestyle.”

    The solid and welcoming wood aesthetic unifies the two separate spaces. The Wellness Center consists of a cafe/social space, fitness studio, exercise studio and indoor shuffleboard court. Its presence at Llanfair has created a new excitement and vitality among residents.

    The fitness studio is staffed by a physical trainer. An indoor walking group has been started and there are weekly social events in the cafe area. Prior to the Wellness Center addition, exercise events lacked the social component with equipment divided among each individual department. “We know there is a growing body of scientific evidence that indicates there is a direct correlation between the health of the spiritual self and that of the physical body. That’s why we picked those two projects,” said Parton. “The new amenities enhance the lives of our residents through successful living. It helps us provide more intellectual, physical, social and spiritual events.”

    Ohio Presbyterian Retirement Services (OPRS), Llanfair’s parent organization, teamed with Robertson Construction to undertake the additions. It was not a project without challenges. As a second-story addition, the Wellness Center required the removal of the roof on a single story structure to build the second-floor addition. Compounding the challenge, Llanfair’s 26 residents living on the first floor continued to live in the community throughout the project. “We did everything in our power to respect the routine and daily lives of the residents,” said Jeremy Johnson, VP of Project Management at Robertson Construction. “On only a few occasions were residents required to leave their rooms during the entire project.”

    How was it possible to complete a construction project of this scale without relocating residents? Robertson has identified three key operational principles to manage construction projects that require continued habitation.

    1. Be Present Daily: Phoning it in isn’t enough.

    Mark Brown, Robertson’s project manager, was present on the job site throughout the construction process, meeting and communicating daily with Llanfair’s director of environmental services. Robertson’s project manager also attended weekly meetings with key Llanfair leadership and managers.

    2. Transparent Communication: No Surprises.

    Safety doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It requires constant communications and a commitment to openness. Robertson’s Collaborative Construction process informs and empowers the client to develop an actionable plan to inform residents of safety issues. By directly engaging with the client, Robertson teams with managers to determine how any project will impact the everyday life of residents.

    3. Maintain a Flexible Attitude: Peace of Mind and Tranquility Come First.

    It’s seems like an impossible goal, but Robertson strives to preserve the tranquility of the residential environment during a construction project. This is achieved by being flexible throughout the project and by willingly rearranging schedules when resident activities take precedence.“

    Robertson worked hard to make sure everyone was on the same page,” said Parton. Parton and her staff were able to communicate frequently with the residents using the center’s closed circuit TV, holding informative meetings with residents and even sending out newsletters to family members. “Because we always knew what was coming, we were able to discuss with the residents and staff what they could expect in advance, thereby keeping the construction project from disrupting their lives.”

    “The management of Robertson was in complete harmony with our organization,” said Gary Huber, director of environmental services at Llanfair. “In one word, the work was excellent. Having dealt with a number of construction companies, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to work with these seasoned professionals.”