The 20-plus acre Mari de Villa campus is bustling with change. Currently three years into a four-year renovation plan, a new batch of upgrades at the retirement community will be finished soon—and just in time for more expansion to begin.
“Mari de Villa opened in March 1960; and here it is, October 2013—in 53 years, we've seen a lot of changes, and we have tried to adapt to what our guests would like to see,” says Mari de Villa president Fred Wiesehan. “The purpose of us being here is to enhance the lives of our guests. It takes constant change; that’s what we embarked on four years ago, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Most recently, this expansion has included the soon-to-be-completed updated living rooms in Mari de Villa’s Villa East. Wiesehan says the newly expanded spaces will feature a floor-to-ceiling glass wall overlooking the courtyard and manicured gardens, as well as a patio for outdoor seating. And they will be ready in the nick of time, as Wiesehan notes “all of the holidays are well-received and well-attended throughout Mari de Villa,” and the Villa East upgrades will be finished before Thanksgiving.
Communal spaces aren't the only areas receiving a makeover. “All of our accommodations are private rooms and/or suites,” Wiesehan explains. “We are enhancing those private rooms by remodeling them, and adding private terraces with French doors.”
Previous expansions through this four-year plan included The Terraces at Mari de Villa, a neighborhood made for guests with Alzheimer’s; and The Waterford Wing, which houses the therapy program. “We have guests ranging from 72 to 100-plus years of age who want to get better. What could be more motivating than to have this physical therapy department overlooking the lake? We have guests who absolutely enjoy going to therapy,” Wiesehan says.
Despite the completion of Villa East on the horizon, Mari de Villa won’t be bidding a final farewell to construction equipment just yet. Wiesehan says there are plans for an additional assisted living complex that will offer even larger private accommodations.
During playoff season, don't be surprised to find Wiesehan and his wife, Mary Kay, involved in a friendly game of catch—maybe even with Mari de Villa board member (and baseball great) Red Schoendienst and other members of the community. The Wiesehans, as well as founder Georgana Linneman, live on the campus, meaning they are actively involved in not just the updates, but the day-to-day activities. The excitement for the Cardinals in the post-season isn't the only enthusiasm buzzing around the campus, as Wiesehan says the community's latest projects are creating quite a thrill. “The thought through the whole thing is we are always adapting to meet the needs of our guests.” And that's something to be excited about!