Design Center

The Heritage Campus

Paul Brokering


Type of Facility/Setting: Senior Housing
Chief Administrator: Ron Estes, Director of Operations, (602) 216-9000
Architecture: Todd & Associates, Inc. (602) 952-8280
Photography: Paul Brokering; Mindy Tucker
Number/Type of Housing Units: 228 independent living units; 41 assisted living units
Total Project Area (sq.ft.): 486,521
Construction Costs (excluding land): $31,896,079
Cost/Sq.Ft.: $66

Living the good life

Mindy Tucker
Maricopa County, known as the Valley of the Sun, is a popular retirement destination for active seniors. Drawn to the Southwest by its warm year-round climate, many of them purchase homes in developments designed for active adults. As time goes by, however, some of these seniors have a change of heart. They want more time to pursue hobbies, travel, or simply relax without the burden of home ownership. The Heritage Campus in Sun City West, Arizona, developed by The Ryerson Company, shows how innovative thinking and cutting-edge design can successfully meet those demands.

Situated on 11 acres, The Heritage Campus consists of two “lifestyle” buildings and cottage apartments: The Heritage Tradition, designed for independent living; The Heritage Legacy, an assisted living facility; and The Heritage Cottages, also designed for independent living. With a choice of five floor plans, The Heritage Tradition is a destination for active adults. Indoor recreation amenities include billiards, a theater, fitness center, beauty salon, computer center, and more, all in luxurious surroundings.

Paul Brokering
Paul Brokering
Paul Brokering
Paul Brokering

However, if the need for personal assistance arises, residents can relocate to The Heritage Legacy and still enjoy resort-style living. Ron Estes, director of operations of The Ryerson Company, iterates the philosophy of the company’s founder, Denny Ryerson: “Folks should feel that moving to the Legacy is a step up in lifestyle.” The Heritage Campus provides the same elegance and comfort in each of its housing options. The two buildings are set across from each other and by lush parklike landscaping. The Legacy offers four floor plans that include one- and two-bedroom apartments and two studios. The unique floor plan of the larger, 550-sq.-ft. studio apartment offers the style and privacy of a one-bedroom unit. “To create privacy,” says Estes, “a piece of furniture was custom designed to divide the area into a bedroom and a living room, creating the feel and affordability of a one-bedroom apartment” (see photos on this page and previous page). He explains that this furniture houses a built-in armoire for storage. Both ends of this “island” divider offer glass shelves where residents can display meaningful photos and personal treasures. “This centerpiece features an entertainment cabinet, wired from the ground up, which allows a television to be attached to a rotational device,” he says. “The television can swivel to face the bedroom or the living room.” If a resident is relaxing in bed, doors built into the cabinet can close on the living room side. When the resident watches television in the living room with friends, the door opens and the television swivels to face the seating area.

According to Estes, assisted living in Arizona is licensed and regulated. The Heritage Legacy provides nurses on staff 24/7. “Of course, the Legacy is as elegant as the Tradition, but we also designed the Legacy as a convenient place for staff to provide care, with three feet of space around the bed area, and as a safe place for residents to live,” notes Estes. A handrail, resembling a designer chair rail, runs around the entire room and is even incorporated into the design of the customized divider. “A resident is never more than a few steps from a handrail,” he says. Additional designer touches, such as crown molding with matching wall accents, add a sense of richness and luxury that the residents may not have enjoyed in their younger years.

Paul Brokering

Paul Brokering
Paul Brokering

In both residences, dining rooms reflect the atmosphere of fine-dining establishments. Using linen tablecloths and napkins, upholstered chairs, and china add to the ambience. “Our light ivory china is rimmed by a dark border to help the visually impaired,” says Estes. The uniformed waitstaff efficiently serve residents in a well-lit atmosphere accented with chandeliers, art, and sculpture.

The Heritage Campus offers resort-style comfort, convenience, security, and a variety of activities and programs that encourage its residents to continue to enjoy the friends, opportunities, and excitement of Southwest living.

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