On Friday, September 24, Springhill retirement community celebrated its 20th anniversary, and its distinction as the only nationally accredited continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in northwestern Pennsylvania. This event will include a proclamation presented to Springhill by Erie County Executive Barry Grossman, and presentations from Asbury Communities CEO Edwin Thomas, III, Springhill Board Chair Rochelle Krowinski, and Springhill Executive Director Jim Schneider.
As Springhill’s original executive director in 1990, Mr. Schneider was there on opening day and continues to oversee the long-term vision at Springhill. “We’ve seen significant changes over the last 20 years,” recalls Mr. Schneider. “We have active, wellness-focused residents moving in, and our campus and physical structure have expanded and changed. Our residents continue to have many more choices in activities, programming, dining, living and healthcare and we see that trend continuing. Research shows that seniors who live in CCRCs live longer and have a better quality of life because we take the stress points away, such as yard and housing maintenance, getting to the doctor, and managing their healthcare.”
Construction at Springhill began in 1989 by the Hamot Health Foundation after they were approached by a group of local seniors who urged them to fill a void in Erie for a retirement community. The decision to move forward on this was controversial at the time because of both the poor economy, and the relatively new CCRC concept – CCRCS provide a full continuum of care primarily focused on residential living and lifestyle options, as well as access to assisted living and skilled nursing care. In addition, retirement communities were not the focus for Hamot, which managed a regional hospital system. At the time it began, Springhill was the second largest construction project in Erie County since World War II, behind the Millcreek Mall.
The first expansion was the ForestView Healthcare Center, which opened in 1993 as a 60-bed skilled nursing facility, and later grew to include an additional 26 beds. In 2001, a substantial bequest from a resident led to the expansion of Springhill’s residential living complex to include a new community room for entertainment, a café and fitness center. That same year, Springhill was acquired by Asbury Communities, Inc., which took over management of the community.
In 2004, Garden Homes were added with a final section completed in 2006. Springhill also introduced ChoicePlus, a licensed home care program for residents, in 2006, and earlier this summer officially opened the doors for The Woodlands memory support neighborhood for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia challenges. Springhill also launched a major landscaping and beautification effort to enhance the natural resources of its campus, which was initiated by one of its own residents.