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Lincoln, IL

Work Category:

Senior Housing, Supportive


St. Clara’s Rehab and Senior Care is a new construction Skilled Nursing and Rehab Facility located in Lincoln, IL. Construction was completed in early 2018 with residents anticipated to occupy the building in February of 2018. The building is a replacement facility for the existing St. Clara’s Nursing Home that was built in the 1960’s. The owner team made the bold decision to building a brand new, state of the art, nursing care facility rather than renovate their existing building. This decision allowed for the majority of resident rooms to be single occupancy, to move to a more decentralized approach to the nursing stations and to design the building around a household concept.

The new St. Clara’s is comprised of two main programs, long-term stay skilled nursing care and short-term stay rehab services. The building is designed to reflect these two different, yet complementary programs with each having its own dedicated entry, resident common areas, and outdoor amenities. The two programs are linked together in the center of the building by shared resident common areas, staff service zones and a state of the art physical therapy suite. The building has a total of 106 licensed beds of which the vast majority are single occupancy rooms each with their own full bathroom. Each resident household includes lounge and activity areas for individual and group recreation. Each household also has access to an exterior landscaped courtyard which includes walking paths, seating, and opportunities for gardening.

One of the primary goals for this project was to deinstitutionalize the care environment and instead provide a home-like setting for the long-term care residents and a hospitality inspired setting for residents receiving rehab services. Another major project goal was to highlight a connection to nature through the inclusion of daylight, views, and access to outdoor spaces, and incorporation of natural materials throughout the building. In response to this goal, the design features several high-volume spaces with clerestory and dormer windows to pull light deep into the space, natural materials such as wood, stone and living plant walls to bring the outdoors inside, and a plan that is designed around five exterior courtyards. Each of these courtyards has its own identity and interior resident common areas are situated to have full views into the courtyards for enjoyment all year round.

St. Clara’s Rehab and Senior Care was recognized in Environments for Aging magazine’s 2019 Design Showcase. Some of the jurors’ comments are noted below:

  • “Excellent process and documentation – stakeholder-created goals make for a strong vision, which is evident in the end product.”
  • “This is a great project! It may be the most thoughtful SNF design I have seen. The common areas and amenities are elegant and nicely scaled. These spaces are nicely lit and inviting and offer great connectivity to the outdoors.”
  • “The living walls are my favorite!”
  • “The design of the therapy garden is fun and interesting.”
  • “The long term care semi-private units are perhaps the best example I have seen in solving this common design problem. Both sleeping areas are truly private. Well done!”
  • “Really like the outdoor access and gardens.”
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