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Intergenerational community...

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by Steven Diegel

SBJ Contributing Writer

Growth has been the key word at the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology over the past few years.

The institute has been busy planning and conducting renovation and construction projects over the past year, making improvements to its existing clinic and adding a new academic and administration building.

Plans for the future will continue the growth trend, as Forest Institute officials report they are now reviewing financial options and various development plans for Forest Village, a first-ever psychology-based intergenerational residential community.

"We are currently exploring our financial options in regard to the construction of the village," said Craig Boughton, PsyD, a member of the institute staff and spokesman for the project. "We are speaking with various consultants regarding what would be the best approach to take, and once that has been worked out, things should proceed very quickly."

The village, part of an $80 million master plan for the institute, should break ground sometime this summer on 58 acres near Scenic Avenue and Battlefield Road. Boughton said development will take place in several phases through 2004, beginning with 200-plus residential units and a multi-purpose community center.

"The first phase will include anywhere from 200 to 250 units, with each additional phase about the equivalent of that," Boughton said. "We anticipate the community center will be quite large and will house a swimming pool, exercise area, walking track and other amenities for the residents."

Up to 2,000 units are eventually planned, housing not only senior citizens but also psychologists, students at the institute and their families. Health and wellness programs, counseling and medical services will be available, as well as educational opportunities for the on-site students and staff.

"This is very unique, with nothing like it in totality anywhere in the world," Boughton said. "We have been getting calls from people from all over the world asking for information about it."

Institute officials anticipate up to 5,000 people will be living at the community within the next five years. An even greater number is planned for the future as new units are added.

Ground breaking for the project may take place as early as this summer, depending upon financing.

In addition to these future plans, the institute will also continue work on past projects, including renovations to the Forest Institute Human Services Center, 1322 S. Campbell Ave., a teaching facility for psychologists. The school has just added new carpeting, furniture and ceiling tiles, as well as repainting much of the interior and improving parking and lighting.

"Our clinic is a jewel for us," Boughton said. "It is unusual for a doctoral program to have a clinic of this size and magnitude, and we wanted a facility which reflected this."

The institute has also completed construction and has begun classes and work at its new academic and administration building at 2885 W. Battlefield Road. The 45,000-square-foot structure, built by the Wirt Development Corporation, cost an estimated $4 million and provides more than 43,000 square feet of new space.

A recent donation has also been made to fund the addition of artistic decorations to the building. Boughton said a Branson artist has been contracted to build and install a copper waterfall and a hanging mobile for the main atrium area.

PHOTO CAPTION:

Forest Institute has begun work and classes at its new academic and administrative facility at 2885 W. Battlefield.[[In-content Ad]]

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