The Fairway Knoll retirement community project in Germantown has transformed a former dumping ground into a proving ground for the crews that built it.
What was once an underutilized site that had been used for dumping construction debris, Fairway Knoll now takes advantage of the surrounding landscape, which includes beautiful views of the adjacent Blackstone Creek Golf Course grounds and the Menomonee River.
The 270,000-square-foot project houses 92 independent living apartments, 42 assisted living apartments and 18 memory care apartments, along with a full town center space with dining, a library, clubroom, salon, wellness center and several small gathering spaces. Underground parking and building services complete the campus.
Fairway Knoll rides the crest of the hill to maximize views for independent living units and the common clubroom and library spaces. Upon entering the building, the immediate view is through the Germanic-designed Great Hall, complete with heavy timber-inspired wood ceiling trusses, and out to the two-story hearth room with tall windows and access to a deck to take full advantage of the panoramic green spaces.
The building’s exterior design is heavily influenced by the village’s design requirements for a Germanic flavor. Large castle stone, warm neutral siding colors, deep roof overhangs, steep roof pitches and soffit brackets all complement the building and design requirements. A walking path wraps around the building with plenty of outdoor terraces and sitting spaces to allow residents full access to their surroundings.
The $32 million project, which began in April 2017 and was completed in August 2018, was VJS Construction Services’ second collaboration with owner PHW Germantown Inc. Justin Gross, a senior project manager at VJS, said his firm was able to utilize lessons learned from the previous project to develop a more efficient construction schedule and minimize unknowns and project change orders.
“We were able to effectively use our lean process to pick up five weeks on the schedule,” he said. “More clear and open communication between all parties involved in the project allowed us to get the building to occupancy early. We were also able to meet our goal of improved systems in the building at a more competitive cost by running through our lessons learned from the previous project and implementing those adjustments on the Fairway Knoll project.”
Among the challenges, the project was built on solid bedrock and required a blast site, so the project team had to notify local residents and the municipality of blast times and protect the general public during the process.
“We also worked in close proximity of a golf club and had to allow for all daily golf operations to remain open for the duration of the project,” Gross said. “We were able to accomplish this by working very closely with the golf course to understand their needs and coordinate any course interruptions to tie into their schedule.”
He noted that the most rewarding aspect of the project was to provide a new, affordable facility for seniors in the Germantown and Menomonee Falls area, which will allow residents to be able to age in place so they don’t have to relocate to a different community. Future plans for Fairway Knoll include two independent apartment buildings in close proximity for additional residents to use the services provided in the already existing building.
In addition to VJS Construction Services, the project team included InSite Architects, Ericksen Roed & Associates, Craftmaster Painting, Design Build Fire Protection and raSmith.