Only weeks into the New Year, the campus of Mari de Villa is buzzing with activity and energy generated by three significant construction projects in the works.   

    “We’re looking forward to the coming year and a series of grand openings,” says president Fred Wiesehan. “There’s a feeling of excitement on our campus and in our community with everything going on here.”

    In September, the 25-acre retirement community broke ground on an expansion of its west wing, which includes a new state-of-the-art physical therapy and rehab space. “It’s a very large area that will have a wall of glass on the south side overlooking the lake,” he notes. “We’re working with RPI, our physical therapy provider, to create a peaceful and serene setting for therapy that will encompass physical, occupational, speech, restorative and rehabilitation therapies.”

    The west wing expansion will also provide an expanded main living room and spacious dining room, as well as a new card/theater room that will offer a theater-like experience with plush seating. “The new dining room will open to outdoor veranda-style seating, and the new card room will have an expansive patio with an outdoor fireplace and views of the lake and new formal gardens,” Wiesehan continues. “We’re anticipating the project to be completed in the spring, and there will be a grand opening to celebrate!”

    Home to many activities and events, Villa Estates Clubhouse is a detached building on the grounds that is currently undergoing renovations. “It’s reminiscent of a country club-style clubhouse,” Wiesehan says. “We have dinners there throughout the week, Sunday brunch, and a number of private and campus-wide parties throughout the year. It’s also a place where we hold wellness, Tai Chi and bridge classes, as well as water aerobics in the indoor pool.” The pool can also become an outdoor pool by means of a motorized roof that is opened when pleasant weather allows. The grand re-opening of the clubhouse is scheduled for February.

Another project slated for 2011 is the addition of 24 attached villas. The first phase consists of eight suites that will be twice the size of existing private rooms and will be completed in the spring. The second phase calls for 16 even larger suites that will overlook the lake from the east.

    Missouri’s first retirement community, Mari de Villa celebrated its 50th anniversary last March. “We had a campus-wide party on March 9, our actual 50th anniversary,” says founder and CEO Georgana Linneman. “But we continued to celebrate throughout the year. Our guests (as residents are called) were very involved, as well as their families and our staff. There was just a continuing excitement with people happy to participate in the celebration.”

    Unusual among retirement facilities, senior management staffers, including Fred Wiesehan and his wife Mary Kay (who serves as VP) and Linneman, live in private residences on the Mari de Villa campus. Such an arrangement allows administrators “to be hands-on and available 24 hours a day, which provides a measure of comfort for our guests,” Mary Kay Wiesehan points out. “We’re a unique community with a caring staff and a real sense of family. The average length of employment for our nurses is more than 12 years, and we have many nurses who have been with us for 15, 20 and 25 years. When our families and our guests see the same faces day after day, that gives them a real sense of comfort and security.”  LN

On the Cover: Mari de Villa’s west wing expansion, slated for completion this spring, is one of three major construction projects in the works at its sprawling campus in Town & Country. Additions include an enhanced physical therapy and rehabilitation space, expanded dining and common areas, as well as new luxury suites. For more information, call 636-227-5347 or visit

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