Cochran, Stephenson & Donkervoet, Inc., Architects & Interior Designers, St. James Place

St. James Place – Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Cochran, Stephenson & Donkervoet, Inc., Architects & Interior Designers – Baltimore, Maryland
Type of Facility/Setting: CCRC

Facility Contact: Maureen Burns, CEO

Firm: Cochran, Stephenson & Donkervoet, Inc., Architects & Interior Designers, (410) 539-2080

Design Team: Bodman, Webb, Noland & Guidroz, Inc., Associate Architect; Interior Design Associates, Interior Designer; Lorrie Hensley, Landscape Architect; Morabito Consultants, Inc., Structural Engineer; James Posey Associates, Inc., Mechanical/Electrical Engineer

Photography: Chipper R. Hatter, Hatterphotographics

Resident Capacity: 245 units

Space/Resident (sq. ft.): 1,627 (apartments); 1,911 (new cottages); 1,107 (new Assisted Living); 681 (Assisted Special Care); 1,240 (Nursing Special Care)

Total Area (sq. ft.): 402,147 (gross)

Total Cost (excluding land): $35 million

Cost/Sq. Ft.: $87

Completion: May 2002

This failing CCRC, with dropping occupancy, had no assisted living facility or services for the cognitively impaired. Visionary leadership mandated: converting existing ground floor apartment wings to assisted living with a fresh image; building new assisted living units; renovating the institutional-looking nursing area into three, eight-bed clusters called the Memory Enhancement Center and serving late-stage cognitively impaired residents; renovating the Commons to add new amenities and services (e.g., bistro, fitness center, etc.); building a new Commons with formal dining, pub, library and multipurpose assembly spaces; building larger, fully appointed apartments and garden homes to attract younger residents; building a state-of-the-art health/wellness center, featuring 64 beds arranged in eight-bed clusters, with 32 beds per floor (the ground floor of this building would provide a community resource for geriatric health assessment, maintenance, education, research and rehabilitation); and designing in the “low-country Acadian” residential style predominant in Louisiana.

The intent was to attract a younger, more active resident. Providing appropriate, attractive assisted living accommodations, including a memory-enhancement component, gives those “independent” residents who are no longer capable of living “independently” an option other than moving to the old, institutional nursing center.

To allow independent residents to age in place, a range of accessibility features are provided in all living units, which are fully adaptable to wheelchair usage. This CCRC’s philosophy is to encourage “aging in (the most appropriate) place.” All assisted living, memory-enhancement and nursing facilities are designed to meet ADA accessibility guidelines.

Making the building three stories high shortened walking distances and saved additional trees. The building’s fatade was designed to resemble a set of connected “plantation” houses detailed in the “Acadia” vernacular. Another innovative solution was creating “dormer” apartments in the “attic” of the two-story portion of the building. These apartments are oversized, to compensate for the elimination of balconies, have 12-foot cathedral ceilings and allow ample light through the dormer windows.

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