When nonprofit health organization Element Care sought to expand their operations into Lowell, they found the perfect home in a 19th century High Victorian Gothic building at 166 Central Street that had not been fully utilized in more than thirty years. A year prior, it had been purchased by vascular surgeon and longtime Lowell resident Arthur “Chip” Gonsalves. Chip had no set plan for the space other than using it as a vehicle to give back to his community by providing construction jobs and revitalizing this historic building.
As they embarked on this year-long project, Element Care’s Project Manager Cynthia Jalbert enlisted Architectural Consulting Services as the project architect and Chapman Construction/Design as the construction manager. The team knew the project would present many challenges, but everyone shared the same vision of the building’s potential. The layout was certainly not typical of an adult day health facility, but with a creative design and a thoughtful construction approach, Element Care was able to modernize the building’s systems and structure to create a space that is now home to one of the most advanced PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) centers in the country.
The project involved the complete gut and renovation of all four floors. To keep the building’s historic charm, many period details were restored, including the colonnade that was incorporated into the building’s central hallway and the ornamental ceiling medallions in the main day room. The addition of a roof deck, two new elevators, more than 200 new windows, and an insulated envelope were among the major renovations. Multipurpose rooms offer space for art, music, and cooking programs, while the many exam and physical therapy rooms allow for in-house patient care from top physicians and nurses, and the occupational therapy apartment helps train patients in self-care tasks.
At full capacity, the space can provide comprehensive care to more than 250 participants and staff living in the area. What had once been a blight on the community is now a thriving resource for the elderly in the heart of downtown Lowell.
Chapman’s project team included: construction supervisors Mike Beaudry, Brian Auger, Anthony Bordini, and Ian Sullivan and project managers John Hyde, Emily Clark and Ben Tucker.
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