Luther Community Morphs Into MapleCreek

July 9, 2007
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GRAND RAPIDS — Lutheran Social Services of Michigan continues work on the $30.5 million phased makeover of its MapleCreek continuing care community, previously known as Luther Community.

The name change was made to reflect that the inclusive community welcomes people of all faiths, not just Lutherans, said John Elmore, public relations coordinator.

All three facilities on the 40-acre community campus on

32nd Street SE
will be remodeled, and a cluster of new condominium-style homes will be built to add more senior living choices. It's the largest building project in the organization's history.

Lutheran Social Services broke ground on Phase I of the campus project June 14, but construction actually began in early April with work on a new west-end entrance and parking lot for The Woods at MapleCreek, the assisted living center previously known as Luther Woods. The center is being expanded to include a new 20-room wing called The Harbor that will serve memory-care patients. That will increase the room count at The Woods to 60. A new entrance and lobby in the assisted living center are under construction as well. The lobby is nearly done, Elmore noted. He said MapleCreek's goal is to eventually have the entire Woods facility designated for memory care

Also in Phase I, The Lodge at MapleCreek, formerly the LutherHome skilled nursing facility, will see a remodeled kitchen, reconfigured office and gathering space, as well as a new chapel. Dana Vance, administrator of The Lodge, said the facility has 125 beds and that count will remain the same. As part of the project, a rehabilitation center will be built in front of The Lodge to serve inpatient residents and to provide outpatient services for residents of The Woods and The Terraces, Vance said.

Phase II will launch in late summer or early fall with construction of 33 one- and two-bedroom homes that will make up The Cottages at Maple Creek.

"What we're trying to do is expand the continuum of lifestyles here," Elmore explained. "We expect the people who live there will be truly independent and won't need our help. They're truly just like any place else a senior couple might want to live on their own, but then they have the other facilities here on campus when the need arises."

Renovation and expansion of The Terraces at MapleCreek, previously known as LutherVillage, are expected to get under way in spring 2008.

The Terraces, which provides catered independent living, will get a new main kitchen, new chapel, new central offices and a barrier-free entrance. It currently has 225 rooms, but when it's completely remodeled, it will have a mixture of 164 one- and two-bedroom independent living apartments with kitchenettes. The organization's home care offices will remain housed at The Terraces but are now called MapleCreek at Home.

The entire MapleCreek community caters to middle-income seniors.

"We tried to put ourselves in a place where the middle-income person could afford us, where they couldn't afford some of these other places that are higher end. Even more of the high-end senior communities are being built right now," Elmore said.

Marketing Director Doug Lachniet said since MapleCreek announced the campus changes and additions, he has fielded quite a few walk-in and telephone inquiries. Because of the construction, the organization has set up a temporary sales office at the front of the campus.

"I think, perhaps, the temporary sales office and the construction itself has attracted some attention, and we did put some billboards up around town," Lachniet said. "So the word is getting out, and we have certainly seen an increase in interest."

The interest is primarily in independent living in general, Lachniet added. With a more varied independent living profile, particularly with The Cottages, he said he expects to see increased interest among younger seniors.

Lutheran Services of Michigan operates four skilled nursing facilities, three assisted living centers, three retirement communities, and 12 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-subsidized senior apartment complexes.    

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