042DSC_0530Stefian Bradley Architects_de Manio Photography

Post by Joe Sirkovich, AIA, LEED AP BD + C – Principal

In honor of National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, SBA shares some insights into developing evidence-based designs for memory care facilities.

On one of our most recent projects, SBA assisted a new company, CareWell Adult Day, to design its first memory care facility. CareWell’s enthusiastic CEO Ron Morganelli came to SBA in 2011 seeking guidance and expertise to help him develop a 7,800-square-foot former warehouse facility that had already been leased from FoxRock properties.

From our extensive background in elder care and healthcare facilities, SBA knew that a well-designed environment could be just as important as medication and social interaction in improving the lives of those suffering from diseases, especially Alzheimer’s. A 2003 study published in The Gerontologist confirms that intelligent interior design greatly enhances people’s experiences and their lives (http://gerontologist.oxfordjournals.org/content/43/5/697.short).

With this type of evidence-based research in mind, SBA established for CareWell several project goals that would focus on treatment via strategically designed environments. These goals included:

  1. To create a safe environment that makes patients feel respected and valued for who they are now.
  2. To organize floor plans that can stimulate active movement, exercise, and opportunities for continuous walking.
  3. To ensure maximum views to nature and maximum exposure to natural lighting, supplemented by dimmable artificial lighting fixtures where necessary.
  4. To create an interior environment reminiscent of “home.”
  5. To provide access to secure outdoor garden spaces.
  6. To incorporate bright color schemes that aid with active visual cognition.

To address these goals, SBA suggested that the CareWell Adult Day Wellness Center be built within a ground-floor corner location in the building, which would maximize exterior views, natural lighting, and outdoor access. New windows were cut into the exterior frame to increase visual access to the forest and garden outside. This location choice also allowed for an easy drop-off/pick-up entryway along with access to the protected garden terrace outside. Organized around a looping pattern, the floor plan gives patients clear walking paths in a safe environment that reduces the chance for patients to wander.

Exterior of Longwater Place

Through close collaboration with CareWell representatives and Mr. Morganelli, SBA was able to turn the former warehouse space into an active, safe, and supportive environment for Alzheimer’s patients.

As we ourselves age, we become more sensitive to the ways in which spaces and environments might affect us down the road—either as we ourselves or as a friend or loved one might suffer from cognitive deterioration and related diseases. It’s our intent to design facilities that can provide the kind of caring and nurturing environment that we would want for our own kin.

For more information about the new CareWell Adult Day Wellness Center, please visit http://www.carewelladultday.com/about-us/.


On October 30, SBA proudly attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new Community Center development for our long-term clients at Roxbury Tenants of Harvard (RTH). The RTH Community Center will provide a brand-new 28,000-square-foot fitness, health, and wellness facility for the local Mission Park community.

Located on Vining Street in Boston’s Mission Hill district, the Community Center will allow RTH to expand its youth development and after-school programs as well as services for seniors. Complete with a full-size gymnasium and indoor basketball court, a fitness center, meeting rooms, youth lounge, computer laboratory, and teaching kitchen, the Community Center offers a local hub for recreation and wellness services in the 13-acre Mission Park neighborhood, which serves 1,500 residents.


RTH and the Mission Park development originated as a grassroots effort to maintain affordable residential housing for minority occupants. In the 1960s, Harvard University had purchased a parcel of land off Huntington Avenue, west of the Longwood Medical area, which they intended to develop by evicting current tenants and demolishing several buildings. Through the activist efforts of current residents and several Harvard students, the Roxbury Tenants of Harvard Association was formed in 1969 to preserve the neighborhood’s residences. RTH negotiated with Harvard to retain permanent, affordable housing as part of the university’s development efforts, and thus became one of the earliest grassroots tenant organizations. As a result, the Mission Park neighborhood now provides a dynamic housing and community environment for working professionals, families, elderly, and disabled residents of all races and cultures. Over the past 35 years, RTH has purchased and rehabilitated 962 units of low- and moderate-income housing, including the 775-unit Mission Park complex.


SBA began working with RTH in 2006 to develop the Community Center project as a safe, secure activity hub for this growing area. Working with RTH throughout their master planning process, SBA has helped the organization to strategically channel their available resources into a truly communal site that will offer the kinds of services, facilities, and respect that the community deserves. This Community Center project has also capitalized on our long-term partnership with RTH, which originated in the 1990s when SBA completed a range of smaller projects at Mission Park to help develop parking, playground, and lobby spaces.


Our ongoing teaming with RTH exemplifies SBA’s dedication to respectful, thoughtful design that demonstrates compassion and consideration for a variety of cultural and generational needs. Keeping RTH’s mission and their diverse users in mind, the Community Center was designed to provide a stimulating, active, and dynamic environment for youth members as well as a nurturing and therapeutic space for aging and disabled residents. We are excited to be part of Boston’s ongoing efforts to redevelop its unique corners of urban living.


The Center’s aim will be to cultivate a collective community of urban dwellers, where residents and community members can socialize, network, and engage with their local neighbors and friends. This overarching objective has successfully reinforced RTH’s legacy as a tenant organization that supports the under-represented and forges stronger communities.


For more information on Roxbury Tenants of Harvard and Mission Park, please visit www.roxburytenants.org and www.missionpark.com.



Playdeck ribbon cutting


Post by Shelley Pass, NCIDQ

November 6, 2014- The Baystate Children’s Playdeck project, located at Baystate Medical Center (BMC), in Springfield, MA celebrated interior completion with a ribbon cutting today. The project renovated and reimagined the 2,326 sqft indoor and outdoor play area located in the pediatric inpatient care unit at Baystate Children’s Hospital. The outdoor play area is anticipated to be complete in January 2015.

The Playdeck provides a whimsical retreat geared toward spurring the imaginations of children of all ages. The new layout, millwork, lighting, and finishes were designed through collaboration with the Baystate Children’s Child Life Team and the committee of families and children who use the space. The Playdeck, inside and out, is the dream realized for the Children’s Hospital:  Reach, Embrace, Amaze, Care, and Heal.


SBA Project Team

Principal-in-Charge: Kirsten Waltz, AIA, EDAC, ACHA, LEED AP

Project Manager & Designer: Shelley Pass, NCIDQ

Technical Advisor: Mark Fobert, AIA




The Building Exterior as of October 28th.

The Building Exterior as of October 28th.


Diane Verdi-Lukomski

Diane Verdi-Lukomski


Post by Diane Verdi, AIA, LEED AP—Project Manager

When I first joined SBA in March 2013, I was asked to be the Project Manager for Construction Administration on The Hospital of Central Connecticut Cancer Center and Medical Office Building. This $40 million project straddles the town line between the two towns, New Britain, CT and Plainville, CT. The Cancer Center is located on the New Britain side of the line while the MOB falls in Plainville, while a shared atrium space connects the two buildings. When the complex opens in this coming spring, this comprehensive cancer center will consolidate cancer diagnostic and treatment services, currently spread throughout several different buildings and campuses, into one, centralized location.

In Spring 2013, construction was just beginning. The site was cleared and excavated, rebar was being laid out, and foundations were being poured for the 140,000 SF complex. One of the most important elements of the Cancer Center, the three Linear Accelerator vaults, presented an interesting construction challenge during this portion of the project.

Due to the fact that patients receive radiation treatments in these rooms, the concrete walls are required to be three feet thick with no cold joints in order to contain the radiation within each room. To accomplish this, the concrete pour had to be continuous. I was on site the day the concrete was poured and it was quite a sight to behold. The contractor had scheduled concrete trucks to come in one after another with no lag time. As one truck finished up its pour, the next was already prepped and ready to start as soon as the other was empty—it was like an expertly choreographed dance.

Once this challenge was behind us, the steel structure was erected, floor slabs were poured, and walls were framed. During the construction process, the hospital partnered with Hartford Healthcare and formed an alliance with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and some plan changes were implemented to accommodate suggestions from these new partners. Although these changes caused construction to slow down temporarily, the design and construction team worked together to accommodate the changes as efficiently as possible to keep construction moving and stay on schedule.

Currently, the project is nearing completion. The granite stonework around the atrium fireplace and elevator shaft in the lobby is complete, ceilings and flooring have been installed in the majority of the building, and millwork installation has begun. Work is also progressing on the peaceful healing garden at the rear of the building, which will have a pond and walking paths for patients to follow along their road to recovery. We are finally starting to see what the finished product looks like in reality instead of simply on paper.

Atrium Progress

Atrium Progress

It has now been a year and half since I joined the SBA team, and the building is less than two months away from substantial completion. I have acted as the primary CA Manager for the project during the majority of the construction phase and it has been an interesting journey full of challenges and incredible learning experiences. The Hospital of Central Connecticut Cancer Center and Medical Office Building is a project that I am extremely proud to have been a part of. This complex will bring state-of-the-art cancer care to the New Britain community in a beautiful, patient-centered care setting that will aid in the mental, physical, and spiritual healing process of countless patients. It is scheduled to open in Spring 2015.


Building Rear

Building Rear

SBA Architects & Designers Show Off their Ghosts of Halloween Past & Present!


"The right to bear arms" Tony Miniscalco, AIA, LEED AP, 2012

“The right to bear arms” Tony Miniscalco, AIA, LEED AP, 2012


"Take the picture already Mom-time to get some candy!" Theresa Harris & brother Mike Pacheco, 1977

“Take the picture already Mom-time to get some candy!” Theresa Harris & brother Mike Pacheco, 1977


UK Architect Kim Benam as a Zombie, 2013

UK Architect Kim Benam as a Zombie, 2013


"I was a poor white boy from Maine, Come On Mom and Dad! 3 Markers, 2 Paper Bags, & ribbon. God, I love the 70's." - Luke Thiboutot, AIA, and sibling as Darth Vader and CP30, 1977

“I was a poor kid from Maine…Come On Mom and Dad! 3 Markers, 2 Paper Bags, & ribbon. God, I love the 70′s.” – Luke Thiboutot, AIA, and sibling as Darth Vader and CP30, 1977

"Sarah Palin meets with the foriegn leaders of the world, you betcha!" -Marketing Coordinator Samantha VanSchoick as Sarah Palin, 2009

“Sarah Palin meets with the foriegn leaders of the world, you betcha!” – Marketing Coordinator Samantha VanSchoick as Sarah Palin, 2009

"Bird heads."- Derek Noble, AIA, LEED AP, 2012

“Bird heads.”- Derek Noble, AIA, LEED AP, 2012

Architect Ryan Gorscak's son Brayden as a firefighter. 2014.

Architect Ryan Gorscak’s son Brayden as a firefighter. 2014.


Amie Cafarelli, Esq. on her 2nd birthday (Halloween!), 1986.

Amie Cafarelli, Esq. on her 2nd birthday (Halloween!).



Designer Kris Kennedy dressed as a Hobo.

Designer Kris Kennedy dressed as a Hobo.


A throwback collage from Derek Noble, Principal.

A throwback collage from Derek Noble, Principal.