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October 1, 2005
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Dream Catchers The Ridge at RiverWoods Exeter, New Hampshire by Robert Volzer, CID, IIDA
The Ridge at RiverWoods
EXETER, NEW HAMPSHIRE PROJECT SUMMARY

Type of Facility/Setting: Continuing Care Retirement Community

Owner: RiverWoods at Exeter, a not-for-profit corporation

Chief Administrator: Frank S. Crane III, President and CEO

Architecture & Interiors: JSA Architects, Inc., (603) 436-2551

Photography: Warren Jagger Photography, Inc.

Resident Capacity: 212 (81 IL apartments, 27 AL units, 11 duplex IL cottages, 15 skilled nursing units, and 8 memory-impaired [Alzheimer's] units)

Total Project Area (sq. ft.): 277,750

Total Construction Cost: $35,335,000 (total project cost, excluding financing costs)

Cost/Sq. Ft.: $127


Dream catchers
BY ROBERT VOLZER, CID, IIDA, VOLZER DESIGN DEVELOPMENT

It often seems we are only chasing dreams, because as soon as we attain that which captured our vision, someone poses a grander idea. RiverWoods, opened in 1994, was the fulfillment of the 1982 dream of founders Maryanna Hatch and Rosemary Coffin. They wanted to create a place for moderate-income seniors to live, have an opportunity to continue learning, and have their health needs met-a place where activity would be a way of life. RiverWoods' current president and CEO, Frank S. Crane III, would push that dream to a new height with the opening of The Ridge, a complementary addition to the RiverWoods campus.

Today, the combined facilities offer a complete continuum of care in a 100-acre natural setting just minutes from downtown Exeter, New Hampshire. Following the mission and dreams of its founders, RiverWoods offers a Life Care contract and provides excellent care for residents at all stages of life. This is evidenced by its having been accredited by the Continuing Care Accreditation Commission (CARF-CCAC) through 2008-a status shared by very few communities across the United States.

"When we met with Frank Crane, he had a clear vision for the new campus," says Mark Moeller, AIA, LEED, principal designer for JSA. "That vision was expressed with the casual elegance of a large, shingle-style New England manor-with its rich vocabulary of varied rooflines, varied heights, and asymmetrical massing-that embodies the residential character of the rural area." The twisting shape of the building allows entries to different areas to be celebrated equally." Likewise, the interior social spaces, although located within a large building form, are intimately proportioned to foster interaction on a truly residential scale.

With the addition of The Ridge, the overall RiverWoods campus offers 30 different floor plans to ensure that residents can find a setting that best suits their lifestyle. New units are larger than others on the campus, and some have an extra room to accommodate guests, hobbies, or a home office. The inclusion of underground parking helps to minimize the stress of winter.


In addition to providing a mix of structures at The Ridge-including 1,800- to 2,000-sq.-ft. cottages for active adults, independent and assisted living apartments, and nursing units-the owners and architects gave careful attention to providing the amenities sought by the increasingly discriminating senior-living market while making them available to the whole RiverWoods community. This approach not only integrates the residents but also provides reciprocal access to features within the other existing buildings. The Ridge's amenities include a variety of dining options, classrooms, a media room, outdoor spaces, walking trails, a community garden, a fitness room, and an indoor swimming pool.

"JSA's architects have done an incredible job of capturing the vision of our trustees and staff, as well as meeting the expectations of our future residents," comments Crane. "They listened to our needs, captured our dream, and delivered exactly what we expected: a first-class campus."

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