Still Hopes Episcopal Retirement Community last week announced plans for a two-building expansion in West Columbia. The expansion includes a five-story residence with 83 apartments and a new health care building. We asked the Rev. Steward Rawson, Still Hopes’ marketing director, several questions about the plans. The questions and answers were submitted via email.
Why is this expansion necessary?
There is about to be a huge gap in the marketplace, which Still Hopes aims to fill. The baby boomer generation is beginning to hit the age of retirement, and they are looking for options when it comes to how they will spend their retirement. In the next five years, the percentage of the U.S. population that is over 65 will increase by 50 percent. A lot of those folks will be looking for a premier destination to spend their retirement, and we believe Still Hopes is the best place for them to do so. Still Hopes underwent a dramatic transformation over the last year by adding 36,000 square feet of common space for our residents. We now have four different dining venues, including fine dining and a more casual coffee shop. This is in addition to our state-of-the-art wellness center and all the other wonderful amenities Still Hopes provides.
Still Hopes says it became “wellness motivated” 15 years ago. Why is that approach important?
It is important because wellness means so much more than exercise when it comes to living a fulfilled life. At Still Hopes we embrace wellness in a broader sense. We focus on wellness in the physical, emotional, spiritual and social sense. Still Hopes embraced this commitment over a decade ago and we have become a leader in offering opportunities for active and vibrant living.
How will the expansion help fulfill this goal?
Our ambitious expansion will focus on wellness. Our new apartment building that will add 83 apartments to our community will be located next to our wellness center and will be enhanced by creating living spaces that embrace bringing the outdoors in, and integrating calming waterscapes, plants and natural light into everyday life. This focus will enrich not only the lives of our future residents, but our current residents as well as our staff and our many guests from the community.
How important is the natural forest preserve to the Still Hopes environment?
One of our great assets is our convenience to all of the amenities of downtown Columbia. This urban setting is a blessing, but having a 15-acre natural preserve that is a buffer allows us to enjoy the many amenities while still experiencing the peace of a beautiful, natural setting. We consider the preserve to be a gift and so we share it generously with all of our neighbors.
What’s the most important aspect of the expansion for future residents?
Still Hopes will be taking our commitment to wellness a step further than ever before. Not only will they live in proximity to amenities like our wellness center, but the actual apartment where they live every day will be built with features that bring wellness into their home; natural light and open spaces will help ensure a more fulfilled life at home, which will blend seamlessly into the wellness centered focus our residents enjoy outside of the home.