Home Firm Profile People Services Portfolio Awards News Careers Contact

MGA News

Design Beyond Borders: The Springs at Bozeman


September 8th 2016

Pictured Above: Preliminary drawings of The Springs at Bozeman, which in part was designed with memory care residents needs in mind.

After designing many senior living projects, Myhre Group Architects principal Ray Yancey has become something of an expert.

His team's latest effort is for a new facility in Bozeman, Montana, for McMinnville-based The Springs Living. It already has four other senior living facilities in Montana and about a dozen in Oregon.

The Springs at Bozeman, now in early stages of design, will include two three-story buildings connected to a one-story building with five interior courtyards, Yancey said. In total, the development will be 220,000 square feet.

One of the three-story buildings will house 24 memory care units, all on the first floor. Residents in memory care units mostly have Alzheimer's disease, Yancey said, but some may have dementia or disabling brain injuries. Housing for such residents must be at ground level, Yancey said, for their safety.

"They all need nursing care and if there is an emergency it's much easier to evacuate them," he said.

Part of the design challenge for the Myhre Group team is ensuring that people in the memory care units are secure but still engaged in everyday activities. For example, they'll have a "fake" kitchen where none of the appliances are operable so that they can be in familiar surroundings without the risk of injuring themselves.

Even though residents won't be able to cook, they will have the comfort of a home-like setting. They'll also have access to a laundry room because folding clothes is one activity typically enjoyed by people with brain afflictions, Yancey said.

The memory care building will also have a real kitchen where staff will prepare home-style meals and bake treats like cookies, he said. Memory care residents will be able to watch what's going on in this kitchen, but they won't have access.

Lighting also is an important consideration for memory care residents, Yancey said, and for that reason, the building will be oriented to receive a lot of southern exposure.

"Daylighting is a good therapeutic aspect for memory care and helps with circadian rhythms," he said.

Also, artificial lighting in memory care areas may be manipulated to adjust for the amount of red and blue light for the same effect.

On the second and third floors above the memory care units will be 68 assisted living apartments - studios, one- and two-bedroom units - for folks who need only some assistance.

The other three-story building, for independent living residents, will include 91 apartments in a mix similar to the assisted living ones.

The independent living residents will share many amenities in the one-story building with those residing in the assisted living section. Amenities will include a bistro and bar with pool tables and darts, a chapel doubling as a multipurpose space, a fitness room, a beauty salon, a small movie theater and a therapy pool with locker space.

"There's also a concierge space to assist the independent living people, a business office, a mail room and a kind of living room that oversees a central courtyard," Yancey said.

In all, the project will have five courtyards, he said. One will serve memory care residents, one will serve those in assisted living units and three will serve the independent living residents.

Yancey said his design team has learned a lot over the years while striving to meet the needs of senior living residents, whether they're independent, assisted or memory care.

"We go to a lot of seminars and do a lot of research to keep up with technology, and we help with these kinds of things within a cost that's affordable and that creates great benefits for residents," he said.

The latest Montana facility's overall design will be a mix of wood with stone accents, shingles and siding, Yancey said.

"It will have a lodge look to some degree," he said.

The design of the project has been approved, Yancey said, and his team will submit drawings for building permits in early 2017. No general contractor has been selected yet, but construction is expected to begin early next summer.