SANTA BARBARA, Calif., April 9, 2014 — When he helped snip the opening ribbon at the standing-room-only dedication of the LifeCenter, Samarkand resident Don Archer opened the doors on a building designed with resident input from the ground up. The Samarkand, a faith-based, not-for-profit, continuing care retirement community operated by Covenant Retirement Communities, officially dedicated the 9,527-square-foot, two-story building on April 7.

The building will be the hub of resident activity at the senior living community, and when building design began in 2008, Archer chaired a five-person resident committee that reviewed and analyzed the initial plans. “We really had a terrific committee,” he recalls. “A lot of our suggestions were incorporated into the building in one way or another.”

Architect Todd Kilburn, AIA, principal of Kilburn Architects LLC, Seattle, Wash., says the contribution of the resident team was unprecedented. “We’ve never worked with a resident committee to this degree,” he says. “In addition to senior living communities, we do a lot of work with condominium boards. There’s often a resident committee. But this was more intense. We had monthly meetings for about six months and their input really contributed to the final design of the building.”

In addition to the primary resident committee, Kilburn also received input from resident committees representing the computer lab, the clothing/accessories resale boutique and the in-house TV channel.

Archer and Kilburn both point to the second-floor as an example of a creative solution improved by resident input. Due to the weight of the equipment, fitness centers are usually on the ground floor. Residents and the architect both wanted to offer exercisers a beautiful mountain view, so the architect mitigated weight/noise issues and put the fitness center on the second floor with an indoor/outdoor cafe and a wellness clinic. When the resident committee suggested that the increased traffic might make the planned restroom insufficient, the architect modified the plan accordingly.

At the dedication ceremony, residents Don Archer, John Kennedy, Jeanne Michealsen and Alice Tooker joined Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider and Covenant Retirement Communities President Rick Fisk in cutting the ceremonial ribbon. Kennedy is the newly elected president of The Samarkand Residents’ Council. Jeanne Michealsen contributed input on space usage. Alice Tooker is the retirement community’s highest seniority resident. She moved to The Samarkand Oct. 21, 1988 and celebrated her 100th birthday Sept. 12, 2013.

Other dignitaries on hand for the invitation-only event included Paul Aigner, representing project manager

2-2-2 The Samarkand dedicates new building designed with resident input

Covenant Solutions, Skokie, Ill.; Todd Kilburn and Lauren Rudeck, Kilburn Architects LLC, Seattle, Wash.; Andy Trubucco, president, and Joe Beaudet, general superintendent, of contractor Trabucco and Associates, Santa Barbara, Calif; Jenette Kinsler, Jenette M. Kinsler Interior Design, Denver, Colo.; and Paula Bodnar Schmitt, Bodnar Design, Chicago.

Following the formal dedication ceremony, resident and staff hosts greeted guests who took self-guided tours of the $4 million building’s facilities, including the fitness center, indoor/outdoor cafe, wellness clinic, aerobics/multipurpose room, computer lab, office space for the community’s 40 resident-led committees, studio for the in-house TV channel, and space for the residents’ clothing/accessories resale boutique.

About The Samarkand

The Samarkand, a faith-based, nationally accredited, not-for-profit continuing care retirement community, is located at 2550 Treasure Dr., Santa Barbara, Calif. It is administered by Covenant Retirement Communities, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit senior services providers. Covenant Retirement Communities serves 5,000 residents at 15 retirement communities nationwide and is a ministry of the Evangelical Covenant Church. For more information on The Samarkand, please call 877–231-6284 or visit


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