The last six months have brought tremendous changes to the Episcopal Retirement Services organization. We’ve said goodbye to our President and CEO Doug Spitler, who retired at the end of 2016 following over three decades of service, and welcomed our new chief executive, Laura Lamb.
We’ve announced a new affiliation with Louisville’s Episcopal Church Home, expanding our footprint into a major new market. We’ve begun construction on new Affordable Living by ERS communities, like Marlowe Court in North College Hill, and opened new communities, too — like Central Parkway Place in the refurbished, historic Downtown YMCA building.
But the YMCA building wasn’t the only renovation project we were working on in that time. Our corporate offices in Hyde Park were also undergoing a significant and overdue reinvigoration.
Working well into the future
Episcopal Retirement Services’ support office renovations have yielded a gracious and welcoming space for a growing staff. The redesign gives our staffers the tools and open space they need to be productive in the 21st century.
“We wanted our space to be more engaging and interactive,” said new ERS CEO Laura Lamb. Lamb was a member of the redesign team, which included partners SFCS Architects and Ridge Stone Builders. Although the renovation resulted in a few work disruptions, they were minimal, and they helped our employees to maintain their focus on ERS’s important mission.
“The renovation helped us remember that we serve seniors who go through the upheaval of moving to a new home.”
— ERS CEO Laura Lamb
The building now contains more conference areas, which were designed to allow in more natural light. A glass-walled connecting corridor offers visitors and employee soothing views of the landscape. And there are new huddle rooms for staff members to use as collaborative work or meeting space.
Renovations can be expensive, of course, and to keep the cost down and maintain good stewardship of our funds, ERS relied on office furniture donations to equip the reimagined corporate workspaces. Desks and chairs were received and matched up to maintain aesthetics and avoid any haphazard appearance.
The artwork in the new space still consists mostly of large, color photographs of ERS residents and staffers, but one new piece isn’t exactly what it appears to be at first glance. In the lobby, a blue fabric piece looks like modern art.
The fabric serves as a baffle, to dampen the ambient sound and maintain a peaceful workspace. The piece’s panels also open, revealing interior dry erase boards that staffers can use to make notes or flesh out new ideas during meetings with each other, or with visitors.
Artwork Highlights Our Core Values
As plans for the updated office spaces were being pulled together, a beautiful piece of artwork was designed by Creative Director Arlan Graham. This artwork hangs in our main lobby and is dedicated to Doug Spitler, who for 34 years nurtured our mission and values. The ERS Board of Directors and Senior Leadership Team have announced that our Core Values and Ways of Working are being refreshed to reflect the culture we’ve built at ERS, where all people are valued. Therefore, we’ve intentionally added values such as relationships, inclusion, engagement and progressive thinking to guide our behaviors and advance our mission.
A more welcoming space for visitors
ERS has undergone tremendous growth over the past several years. As we’ve grown, so, too, has our need for staff. Accordingly, during the recent renovation of the ERS offices, the main building entrance was moved to the back of the structure, adjacent to a larger parking lot that will hold more employees’ and visitors’ vehicles.
The builders added a new wheelchair ramp to the building entrance to provide better access to the office for seniors and mobility-impaired visitors. The new lobby features high ceilings, lots of natural light and moveable seating, to facilitate meetings between staff members and business contacts, or between employees and ERS residents and their families.
A better space yields better focus
Episcopal Retirement Services has an important mission: to continue giving Cincinnati and Tristate seniors access to the best possible residential, in-home and community-based services. Our renovated workspace will certainly enable us to more effectively carry out that mission.
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