At Village on the Isle, work continues on a $100 million campus expansion and renovation. Founded in 1979, Village on the Isle is a not-for-profit, faith-based continuing care retirement community. The current 16-acre, 325-resident campus began a complete repositioning in January 2016. Financed by a successful municipal bond offering, the expansion broke ground in January 2018, including new construction of two five-story residential buildings. Known as the Emerald Terraces, these feature 46 independent living apartment residences that will grow the campus population to more than 400. The Emerald Terraces are scheduled to open in two phases three weeks apart in June and July 2019.
“A few years ago, we realized we needed to make improvements and changes to better serve both our existing and future residents,” says Joel Anderson, Village on the Isle’s CEO. “The new Emerald Terraces will be independent living apartment-homes ranging from 1,250 to 1,620 square feet. Most are two bedrooms and are named Emerald Terraces because each apartment-home has a beautiful 200-square-foot walkout balcony to enjoy the island life here in Venice.”
Growth for residential living was far from the only goal for the community, according to Joel. Alongside the Emerald Terraces is a significant renovation of Village on the Isle’s assisted living building, known as the Lofts at Village on the Isle. Also, they were able to construct an entirely new 66,000-square-foot Health Center, which is scheduled to open in October 2019. It will include 64 private suites featuring licensed skilled nursing care.
Programs at the Health Center will be geared toward helping each resident recover and return home as soon as practical or receive long-term support as their privacy, choice, independence and comfort are optimized. Unlike other care models, each resident has a private residence to allow them to peacefully recuperate from a hospital stay. They will also receive rehabilitative services from occupational, physical and speech therapists in the new wellness and rehabilitation gym.
Village on the Isle is Venice’s only Life Plan Community, or what is also known as a Continuing Care Retirement Community.
“In our life care plan, if a resident moves into Village on the Isle, they pay an entrance fee, usually from the proceeds of the sale of their house," Joel says. "Then they use their fixed income for daily living expenses. Even when it may be necessary for them to move to health care, they will pay the same monthly fee. This allows them more predictable long-term costs of care and asset protection.”
Services and amenities at Village on the Isle include a heated outdoor pool, shuffleboard, fitness centers, billiards, libraries with computers, a chapel and comfortable common areas to spend time with friends and neighbors. There are scenic views in and around the campus to enjoy birds and other wildlife. The campus is less than a mile from the beach and Venice’s downtown shopping and restaurants. Residents can also volunteer their time as they no longer have the hassles of maintenance of their home, house cleaning and other major chores. Other amenities at Village on the Isle include causal and formal dining venues, 24/7 security, and health and wellness staff, such as a wellness nurse and nutritionist. They also have backup emergency power in case of an outage from a major storm. More than 70 percent of the residents live independently at Village on the Isle, with a full continuum of healthcare when they may need it.
“Before finalizing the renovation and construction plans, we asked for input from residents,” says Kristen Myers, director of Sales and Marketing. “We met with and listened to our residents and staff, the Board of Trustees, our church partners and even the general public about making our campus better. The result of the meetings was an efficient, phased-in construction approach that hasn’t disrupted everyday life here too much.”
Still, the major project—designed by RLPS Architects of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and carried out by Sarasota’s Willis Smith Construction—has required some staff to park at the nearby Venice Airport and ride shuttles to work.
“It has been difficult now and again, and as you can imagine, taking on such a large project, it has infringed somewhat on family time,” says Joel, married to wife Angela, and father to two sons, Samuel, 16, and USF graduate Miller, 22. “But I have been blessed with a great team and directors that allows me to focus on these strategic items the board has approved to make our residents’ lives better. I also give much credit to the architects, contractors, engineers and interior designers. They have all helped us.”
Joel says that while current residents have dealt with some construction noise, they have also hosted regular gatherings and parties to learn about and watch the work. Future Emerald Terraces residents are always kept informed, including through a recent party held at the Venice Train Depot in early December.
“It has certainly been noisy,” says current resident Barbara Barnes. “We’ll all be glad when it is over. But I am very fortunate to have this. I love the people who are here at Village on the Isle.”
Barbara especially appreciates the renovations to her building, the Lofts, which have resulted in more natural lighting and modernized common spaces.
“The renovation is so cool for the staff and the residents. Everything is better now compared to how it was before," says taff member Derek Neath. "It’s a home setting here now. It’s also much easier for staff to provide personal service. The dining used to be only downstairs. Now it is on every residential floor for our healthcare residents.”
The Village on the Isle project has occurred at a time of major growth across the city of Venice, including a complete renovation of downtown’s thoroughfares and the opening of the new public library.
920 Tamiami Trail S, 941.486.5485, VillageOnTheIsle.com