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Design Center

October 1, 2004
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Modernizing the Mission The Gardens of McGregor & Amasa Stone; East Cleveland, Ohio by Richard L. Peck, Editor-in-Chief


Type of Facility/Setting: Skilled Nursing/Dementia Care

Owner: The A.M. McGregor Home

Chief Administrator: Sue Neff, Executive Director/Administrator

Architecture/Interiors: Herman Gibans Fodor, Inc., (216) 696-3460;

Landscape Architecture: Behnke Associates, Inc.

Photography: William Webb, Infinity Studio

Resident Capacity: 146 beds (98 nursing care, 48 dementia)

Total Project Area (sq. ft.): 209,866

Construction Costs: $35 million

Cost/Sq. Ft.: $167
This month marks the 100th anniversary of the East Cleveland campus of The A.M. McGregor Home, one of Cleveland's most venerable long-term care organizations. McGregor's history actually dates back to the city's first known private nursing home, the Home for Aged Women, built in 1877 and later replaced by the Amasa Stone House in 1930. Both organizations compiled long histories of serving the region's elderly before merging to form the current Ohio not-for-profit corporation in 1987. The objective of the merger was to build a new, state-of-the-art nursing facility on the beautifully landscaped hilltop overlooking East Cleveland. The Gardens of McGregor and Amasa Stone, which opened in February of 2004, was the result.

The 146-bed nursing facility features all-private resident rooms distributed among two floors of 49 beds, as well as a third floor containing two 24-bed dementia care suites. The design first clusters the units into groups of six around a separate nursing station, and then into 24-bed "neighborhoods." Each neighborhood has its own dining and storage areas. "As a result of this decentralization," notes Executive Director/Administrator Sue Neff, "cart traffic is kept to a minimum, while resident transport to the dining area is not nearly the task it was in the old buildings." The clusters also reconfigure the facility's staffing ratios: 1 to 6 during the day, 1 to 12 in the evening, and 1 to 24 at night.

The 265-sq.-ft. resident rooms feature window seats and toilet rooms designed to accommodate two-person transfers. The centralized bathing area features a variety of tubs to accommodate a wide range of resident needs.

The nursing floors are designed to take advantage of the sweeping hillside vistas. Activity spaces at the heart of each floor open up to views of downtown Cleveland and Lake Erie beyond. A 5,000-sq.-ft. flexibly designed community gathering room can accommodate theater presentations, lectures, banquets-even a local senior prom, which several residents enjoyed attending this spring. "This helps us integrate well with the community," says McGregor's president and CEO Rob Hilton. "However, we're trying not to get into the banquet business. We use this room primarily for everyday activities."

The interior also includes a library, a greenhouse, an ice cream parlor, and a soaring lobby area featuring wooden beams and girders fashioned from local trees. A notable collection of antique furniture brought and bequeathed by more than a century of residents distinguishes the dTcor throughout the building.

The exterior of the Gardens is designed to be compatible with the Tudor Revival homes of the adjacent Forest Hill Historic District. Patios of varying sizes and descriptions are offered at different levels, giving residents several options for outdoor relaxation. The building sits atop a 95-car parking garage, not only providing secure, enclosed parking for staff but also eliminating the need for large surface-parking accommodations that would detract from the facility's parklike surroundings.

This high-end environment is not restricted to the well-to-do. Hilton says the organization's mission focuses primarily on serving seniors in need in The Gardens and in subsidized assisted living and independent housing (now under construction in the adjacent nursing facility that is the predecessor to The Gardens). In short, residents can spend their final years with well-deserved dignity.