Fort Macleod Residents Get First Look at Design of New Seniors’ Lodge

Fort Macleod Residents Get First Look at Design of New Seniors’ Lodge

Frank McTighe, MACLEOD GAZETTE EDITOR | Posted on March 30 2016

Fort Macleod residents got their first look last week at plans for a 40-unit $9-million seniors’ lodge.

Berry Architects Ltd. of Red Deer gave a 90-minute presentation that included a 3D tour of the interior and exterior of the building. “We have one philosophy that we carry into all of our projects,” George Berry said. “We need to design homes that you can live in with the respect, honour, safety and the dignity that you deserve.” Berry was joined at the presentation by senior associate Daren Blair and senior production co-ordinator Chris St. Clair. About 60 people turned out for the open house, where Berry and his staff displayed drawings, mapped out a typical room with tape on the floor and showed the 3D presentation.

“Seniors’ lodge projects and seniors’ housing is the specialty of Berry Architecture,” George Berry said, explaining 75 to 80 per cent of the work his company does involves seniors. “If I had my choice it would be 100 per cent.” Berry said a key component of the seniors’ housing his firm designs is that they are 100 per cent accessible to everyone.

“Every room will be fully accessible,” Berry said, explaining issues such as mobility, vision and even hearing are taken into consideration. In the case of Fort Macleod, Berry said with a laugh, even the wind was a factor in the building’s design. “There’s not many things in seniors’ lodges that we haven’t thought about,” said Berry, who has given presentations on the subject across Canada and as far afield as China.

The new Fort Macleod lodge will be a one-storey building with 40 rooms, common areas, patios. spa room, kitchen and laundry. “One of the things that we’ve done is looked at the orientation of the building, how it works in with the community, how we can tie it into the existing neighbourhood,” Berry said. “We’ve kept the scale of the building down so it has very much of a home-like feeling.” The main entrance to the lodge is from the main resident and visitor parking lot, the entrance to which is on 28th Street. The parking lot is intentionally framed by the lodge itself. “Neighbours aren’t looking at a whole pile of cars,” Berry said.

From the covered entrance in the parking lot, visitors enter a common area with the administration offices. a fireplace and a sitting area. “This is a place where we find a lot of people gathering,” Berry said. “It’s a very comfortable place.” The northwest and southeast wings each consist of 15 studio suites and five one-bedroom suites. “What that does is it shortens walking from the farthest suite to the common area,” Berry explained.

The studio suites are 350 sq. ft. with a kitchen living area, space for a bed and a bathroom with a shower, toilet, closet and full-size sink with a vanity. The one-bedroom suites are 515 sq. ft. with a separate bedroom, living area, storage space, kitchen and bathroom with a shower, toilet and full-size sink with vanity. Some of the suites are adjacent to outdoor patios. Berry explained the suites are designed to accommodate an increasing level of care required by a senior. “The care can come to you,” Berry said. “You don’t have to leave that suite.”

The lodge is also designed to accommodate an overall move to a higher level of care, should the Willow Creek Foundation desire to do so. The kitchen and dining room are at the back of the building, which is different from the present lodge where the main entrance is to the dining room. The dining room is designed to accommodate all the lodge residents, with room for guests. Berry said the dining room can comfortably sit 80 people. The kitchen is three times the size of the one in the present lodge and will contain a freezer, cooler and dry storage. Nearby is the multi-purpose room, family dining room, resident laundry, meeting room, hair salon and recreation office. Also nearby is the staff room with a washroom, showers and lockers.

The spa room, laundry and home care/examination room is at the back of the building in the northwest wing. The lodge contains lounge/sitting rooms in each wing. The frontage of the lodge on 28th Street is the same with the residential housing on the street. “We’ve got some very nice houses in the area,” Berry said. “We’re not going to dwarf them with shadows and look like we don’t belong in the community.”

The basement contains storage room for the facility as well as residents, along with a maintenance office, mechanical room and electrical room. The building is air conditioned and humidified, and will be equipped with an emergency sprinkler system. “One of the things that was very important to us was improving connection to the manors,” Berry said. The two 10-unit manors will connect to the main common room in the lodge. The park on the south end of the lodge will be maintained, and possibly enhanced.