Moravian Hall Square is a continuing care retirement community in northeastern Pennsylvania that opened in 1988 on an 18-acre tract of land purchased by Moravian settlers from William Penn in 1740.

The community required upgrades to improve the quality of care and work environment, and to better relate to the historic community beyond its borders. Challenges included a tight, steeply sloping site and a modest budget.

A consultant evaluated architectural options relative to service delivery and staffing models to optimize the design. The project renovated and expanded healthcare housing and added households serving seniors with dementia and related diseases and social-model assisted living.

The designers studied nearby historic Moravian buildings to incorporate Moravian architectural details into the new construction: a cupola, dormers, round louvers, and arches.

The healthcare renovation converted traditional, institutional, semiprivate rooms to comfortable, homelike private rooms. Rooms that remained semiprivate were enlarged so that each resident has a window, but the beds are not visible to each other.

The nurses' station was reworked, and charting niches and equipment storage were carved into spaces along the corridor to decentralize operations and move equipment out of traffic zones. Wireless nurse call was added, and the dining room was renovated.

Two new households each provide care for 12 residents with dementia. Residents' rooms are designed so residents can see the bathroom from their beds, promoting independence and minimizing disorientation. The households share a dining room, but each has its own activities spaces.

Service areas are designed so staff can perform necessary tasks while interacting with residents and involving them in activities. Casual food service is available at a counter styled to look like a vintage diner, enabling residents to watch the preparation and interact with food service staff.

Each household includes a private outdoor courtyard. The fence becomes an attractive backdrop through the use of a variety of materials, changes in height, and plantings.

The project added apartments for assisted living residents. The units include a kitchenette with a small refrigerator elevated 18 inches off the floor so residents don't have to bend over.

The existing assisted living dining room was renovated to make dining more inviting. The dining room was opened to the corridor so that good smells permeate the space to entice residents. Code requirements are met through a concealed smoke partition that activates if the smoke alarm goes off.

Project category: New construction & Remodel/Renovation (completed July 2004)

Chief administrator: Susan C. Drabic, President and CEO, (610) 746-1000

Firm: SFCS, Inc., (540) 344-6664

Design team: Tye Campbell, PE, Project Principal, Project Manager; Drew H. Kepley, AIA, Project Designer (SFCS, Inc.); Lorraine G. Hiatt, PhD, Planner: Environments for Aging (Planning, Research and Design for Aging); Patricia Miller, Interior Design (Spillman Farmer); Hugh McGettigan, General Contractor (Warfel Construction Company)

Photography: ©2004 Tim Schoon Photography

Total building area (sq. ft.): 72,944 (new); 33,000 (renovation)

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $129 (new); $139 (renovation)

Total construction cost (excluding land): $9,400,000 (new); $4,600,000 (renovation)