With the exciting expansion of Birchrock Castle scheduled to be finished in mid-July and residents being accepted in early to mid-August, we thought we’d sit down with Castle Senior Living owner and vice president, Kris Kiefer, and ask him a few questions.
What does this expansion at the Birchrock Castle Community include?
We’re really excited about it! Construction is going well. There have been a few hiccups with the supply chain, but ultimately everything is on schedule and on track for a mid-July completion. We are adding an additional 20 units to the CBRF. These new units will allow us to offer an array of room styles: private suites, efficiency apartments, full one-bedroom apartments, etc. This allows our residents to choose a newer and larger unit that fits them best.
We are also remodeling the current building and adding on a back element to the building. Right now, it is a horseshoe shaped building, but with the addition it will be converted to a full circle. This allows residents to walk in the hallway, get exercise and makes it more memory care friendly. Additionally, it will be more secure so residents can enjoy an interior courtyard. We will be planting in raised garden beds so residents can enjoy spending more time outdoors.
The Birchrock Community wraps around some wetland preserves so there are beautiful views almost as if you are living with nature. Just about every new unit has a private walkout patio to easily access the outdoors and enjoy the nice summer days.
What are some new amenities that will be offered due to this expansion?
Many of the trends are similar to what you’d see in a new home. These elements include a large sunroom with big windows, high ceilings and natural light, a TV/theater lounge, library area, a salon with private beautician services, an activity area and a fireplace lounge. There are many areas for residents to interact, hang out and participate in activities. We’ll also have a farmhouse style kitchen with a coffee/juice bar.
Additionally, we’ll be providing chef-inspired meals with a larger culinary team, have a dedicated housekeeping staff to provide a clean environment and a larger team to focus on the health, well-being and activities for the residents.
This brochure covers many of the amenities.
When can those who are interested in Birchrock Castle begin applying for and reserving rooms?
You can start contacting us right now by reaching out to our executive director Candy Mings to get on our wait list. Interest is definitely out there and some have already signed up. We will give “hard hat” tours to families interested in the community so that they can take a look. We’ll wait a few more weeks to schedule those, probably mid-June, when things are closer to wrapping up inside.
What is it about Mukwonago that led Castle to expand there?
Birchrock has been active in Mukwonago for over 20 years now. We like the area. It has that small-town vibe and the people are just terrific. You combine that with a location that is close to everything, but still surrounded by 17 acres of nature and it’s a great fit.
The goal is to increase our level of service at the Birchrock Castle Community. With this addition, we can create a larger team to provide more support for residents. When residents need more advanced care, they can age in place longer and stay where they are comfortable longer. We will now have the capability of two-person transfers, mechanical lift transfers, insulin injections and other higher level medical needs if they would ever need it.
There seems to be a lot of construction on senior living communities. How much is the Milwaukee-metro market lacking in senior housing? Is there a shortage of living space similar to the current housing market?
COVID-19 delayed many projects and now you’re seeing them coming to fruition. Demand is only going to grow with everyone aging so that’s why we’re seeing more supply. Some senior living communities out there have aged and need updating. New providers are also coming into the market, providing nicer newer spaces and amenities, just like we’re doing here.
Are you hiring for positions at the Birchrock Castle due to the expansion? If so, when?
We already have some candidates in mind and will be hiring in the next few months. We are currently accepting applications through Indeed and on our website.
We have an outstanding team already at Birchrock and it’s incredible to see the longevity we’ve had with our people. It’s an amazing community because of the employees who are here. We want to keep building on that caring culture. Some of our care staff have been here for more than 15 years. Company culture matters to us.