Prairie Park Senior Apartments is an award-winning, 96-unit senior housing facility. The design concept for the project was to create higher-density, affordable apartments for seniors with a comfortable residential quality. The goal was to create the appearance, feel, and amenities of a market-rate rental development. Prairie and Craftsman motifs were used in the exterior and interior architecture to reference their strong historical influences in Southern Wisconsin.
The housing building includes an array of amenities that are normally not present in affordable housing developments. The long Wisconsin winters required including a heated underground parking garage and a central commons facility that has a fully equipped kitchen and a dining and community room with theater capabilities. Other common area amenities include a beauty salon, an exercise center, and a library. A business center and a private conference/dining room are incorporated to meet the needs of residents that are working or volunteering out of their home or in need of computer or internet facilities.
The common hallways are designed to allow for resident decoration. A purse shelf at the unit entry doors provides an area for residents to personalize and take “ownership” of the hall and creates a lively interior environment.
Apartments have generous hallway and kitchen and bathroom designs many of which include a full 5-foot turning radius, lower counter heights and removable cabinet fronts to allow for maximum adaptability. The appliance package included adaptable features such as a side-by-side refrigerator/freezer, front control self-cleaning oven and range and front-loading washers and dryers. Closet shelving is adjustable to accommodate mobility changes.
The central commons area allows for an active social environment for residents with limited range. Abundant oversized windows with views to the adjacent greenway, day-care and recreation facilities provide a light and expansive environment for house bound seniors.
The project received financial assistance from an energy conservation group and additional consideration from the state for the energy conservation measures employed. Those measures included Energy-Star appliances and building components, low-flow water components, energy saving lighting, electronic setback thermostats, and individual unit heat pumps supplied by a central boiler and chiller that significantly reduced the energy demands of the building.