The Lathrop Communities Eye Expansion

The Lathrop Communities, with campuses for older adults in Northampton and Easthampton, Massachusetts, announced last week the selection of the Boston-based architectural firm of DiMella Shaffer to partner with the community’s Master Planning Task Force as it explores expansion and renovation possibilities for both campuses.

Thom Wright, Lathrop’s Executive Director, announced to the Resident Associations of the two Lathrop campuses at meetings July 29 and Aug. 5 that DiMella Shaffer has been engaged by the Board of Directors to guide the Task Force’s work.

“We’re working on what kind of place we are, what kind of place we hope to be, and how we are going to best serve our residents affordably,” Thom Wright said. “We’re looking at what kinds of services will be needed in the future, and we’re exploring new construction and rethinking how best to realize our mission — while maintaining our commitment to responsible stewardship of our land. But is still very early and hard to say what directions all of this could take. We’re just at the beginning of our master planning process.”

The Master Planning Task Force — composed of residents, members of the Board, management, and representatives from The Kendal Corporation — will plan for and chart the community’s next 25 years. Lathrop is currently celebrating the 25th Anniversary of its founding in Northampton. Ongoing fundraising and the expansion planning are all part of an initiative called the Silver Lining Project, in recognition of the Silver Anniversary celebration.

DiMella Shaffer will work with current and future residents, staff, neighbors and partners, to prepare a plan and design the elements for what could conceivably be a $26 million expansion and repositioning of the community. The next few months will be filled with discussions, design charrettes and consultation with all stakeholders as the vision of the future Lathrop begins to take shape. Then the hard work of turning that vision into reality will begin.

Dimella Shaffer was selected by the Lathrop Task Force after interviewing four firms. “All three of the other companies were experienced and widely recognized as leaders in this field. But seasoned by working with over 50 other senior living communities, including other Kendal affiliates, and with more than eight projects in the Pioneer Valley under their belt, DiMella Shaffer was an obvious choice, especially as they so clearly share our conservation principles.” observed Wright. “Their design and planning team listened closely to us, identified with our Green initiatives, and were clearly comfortable with our culture and style. DiMella Shaffer seemed to, as we like to say, ‘get Lathrop’ and understand us. They are the right choice to bring the energy, creativity and experience to the table as we begin the long planning and design process.”