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April 1, 2005
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"Homesteading" Stonebridge at Montgomery Skillman, New Jersey by Robert Volzer, CID, IIDA
Stonebridge at Montgomery
SKILLMAN, NEW JERSEY PROJECT SUMMARY

Type of Facility/Setting: Continuing Care Retirement Community

Owner: Presbyterian Homes & Services, Inc.

Chief Administrator: David Zack, Executive Director, (609) 683-8355

Architecture: Wallace, Roberts & Todd, LLC, (215) 732-5215

Interior Design: Merlino Design Partnership, Inc., (610) 313-9550

Photography: ¬2004 Tom Bernard Photography

Resident Capacity: 24 clustered cottages, 188 Independent Living apartments, 40 Assisted Living apartments, 20 Special Needs apartments, and 40 Skilled Nursing beds

Total Project Area (sq. ft.): 410,000 (on a 40-acre campus)

Construction Cost: $60,000,000

Construction Cost/Sq. Ft.: $146


"Homesteading"
BY ROBERT VOLZER, CID, IIDA, VOLZER DESIGN DEVELOPMENT

With a bold stroke of American tradition and a touch of cooperation between the public and private sectors, Montgomery Township in Somerset County, New Jersey, offers its senior "settlers" a feeling of just starting out, instead of ending up.

The township's leaders moved to protect, under the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Green Acres Program, 160 acres of land through public acquisition, preserving picturesque "viewsheds." To support the lifestyle needs of the aging residents, they welcomed the private development of approximately a quarter of that parcel for senior living. This project is an outstanding example of how to serve a community's demographic needs and at the same time blend well with the community. Evidence of the project's success is the fact that Stonebridge at Montgomery has achieved its goal of attracting more than 50% of its residents from nearby Princeton and another 20% from three smaller towns within a ten-mile radius of the site.

The township's leaders selected Presbyterian Homes & Services as the provider and sponsor for the project, and the architecture and interior design firms collaborated to design a grand "homestead" theme for the site and structures. Stonebridge has the appearance of a large, old farmhouse that has undergone a number of additions over time. The clubhouse, and the swimming pool and fitness center that are housed in an attached "barn" structure, evoke a Craftsman/farmstead vernacular that complements this semirural site. Further integration with the greater community includes the extension of the town's public trail system into the campus. The trails developed on the Stonebridge campus are linked to those on the public land, allowing the community-at-large free access to the campus's trails.

Following the architectural massing of the exterior, the interior "Main Street" presents the appearance of an enclosed porch. Other inspiring design features include the use of heavy timbers and cultured stone inside and out, and the extensive use of high beadboard wainscoting, which enhances the homestead theme while providing wall protection. Furniture and furnishings also reflect the design theme; they have been carefully designed, both to fulfill dimensional requirements and to provide the serviceable upholstery and finishes needed by the residents. Similarly, the lighting fixtures, with their rustic design, echo the architectural era, yet they provide the appropriate quantity and quality of light needed throughout the facility for various activities.

Wallace, Roberts & Todd; Merlino Design Partnership; and Montgomery Township's leaders are to be congratulated for putting the "home" in this homestead-themed community for seniors.

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