Business

Marion senior housing project spends extra for long-term wellness

The Views of Marion first assisted-living facility with WELL registration

Angie McClure, director of marketing and communications, looks out the door from a ground-level suite at the future site of the Views Senior Living Communities in Marion on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. The assisted living facility is striving for a gold-level WELL certification.  Building materials, including framing, are protected from water during building to prevent mold, and once ducts are installed they will be capped. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Angie McClure, director of marketing and communications, looks out the door from a ground-level suite at the future site of the Views Senior Living Communities in Marion on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. The assisted living facility is striving for a gold-level WELL certification. Building materials, including framing, are protected from water during building to prevent mold, and once ducts are installed they will be capped. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
/

MARION — A senior services provider has made long-term health and wellness a key goal in the construction of its new facility in the Cedar Rapids area — and is gaining first-in-the-world status because of it.

Angie McClure, director of marketing and communications at the Views Senior Living Communities, an Iowa-based senior housing and services provider, said company officials have seen an increased focus from residents on their overall health and wellness.

They want to reduce medications, improve overall health and “are seeking to understand what choices they can make to take control of their overall wellness,” she said.

With this in mind, the developers are in the process of obtaining an international accreditation on health and wellness, making the facility on track to be the first assisted-living facility in the world with the certification.

The Views of Marion, located at 720 Oakbrook Dr., is a more than $20 million project seeking to obtain certification in the WELL Building Standard, an accreditation that measures the building’s positive impact on health and well-being of its occupants.

The standard is conferred by the International WELL Building Institute. Third-party certification for the WELL standard is be provided by the Green Building Certification Institute, which also administers the LEED building standard.

Only the Views’ assisted-living facility and the commercial kitchen are WELL registered, meaning it is in the process of obtaining certification.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

But striving for that certification came at a “significant” extra cost to the project, said Dr. Mik Pietrzak, executive chairman of the Views Development.

Pietrzak, estimated following guidelines for WELL certification added as much as 8 percent to the $17 million construction budget compared to a standard building project of a similar scale.

“Many of the things we were going to do anyway, WELL certification or not,” Pietrzak said. “This matched very well with our cultural thoughts on what the facility should be, so many of those things we wanted to do anyway.”

HEALTHY FOR THE LONG-TERM

The Views of Marion will be completed in February 2019. The campus will include 30 assisted-living apartments, 40 skilled nursing beds and 34 memory care apartments.

Although only a portion of the campus will be WELL certified, Pietrzak said it applied those concepts across the project.

“The whole focus of WELL is about the occupants of the building and is the building performing in a way that makes everything healthy for the long term — not only for the residents, but for the visitors and the workers,” Pietrzak said.

WELL guidelines focus on seven concepts — air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. Pietrzak described it as everything that can make occupants “not feel the best in a building.”

“It’s not just about that moment — is the lighting good, is my chair ergonomically comfortable? It’s not just that, it’s the long-term things,” he said.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Thank you for signing up for our e-newsletter!

You should start receiving the e-newsletters within a couple days.

These guidelines call for factors such as good water and air quality, nutritious food with options for specific dietary restrictions and opportunities for physical activity, including as walkability and fitness classes.

“The biggest single cost in that is the hospital-grade ventilation system,” Pietrzak said.

“Mechanical is significant in any building, and when you upgrade mechanical you’re getting some cost.”

Some guidelines also call for mindfulness on factors such as noise and comfort. To address that, the Views is planning to take steps that include using push lawn mowers without engines to cut out on noise and gas emissions.

Developers also had to take specific steps throughout the construction process to obtain certification.

For example, mold is a major concern, so air ducts and wood materials must be covered at all times.

The Views Senior Living has owned and operated senior living and senior care facilities throughout Iowa since 2004.

In addition to its new Marion location, the company also operates OakView Rehab and Skilled Nursing in Burlington as well as RidgeView Assisted Living and MeadowView Memory Care in Cedar Rapids.

McClure said the provider had applied many of the WELL criteria to the construction of their memory care and assisted-living housing in Cedar Rapids, which ultimately contributed to developers’ decision to invest more for the certification.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

“We’ve seen it be so successful and so appealing with dementia patients that, if it’s appealing and beneficial to them, why wouldn’t it be for everyone?” McClure said.

l Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

CONTINUE READING

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.