As Haven Hospice continues the first phase of construction on the 12-room expansion at the E.T. York Care Center in Gainesville, careful measures are being taken to preserve two heritage oak trees on the site.

“The canopy of the heritage oak near the edge of the property is cordoned off to prevent any vehicles or foot traffic in the area as construction progresses. The second heritage oak which is located closer to the building is also being preserved,” said Haven Hospice Manager of Facilities Mark Willard.

Further precautions have been taken to not disturb the heritage oaks with regard to entering and exiting the construction site. “Temporary access points to the construction site and the construction trailers will be used,” said Willard. “Heavy equipment and other large vehicles will only be able to access the site from the west side of the property.”

Also during this first phase of expansion construction, over 2,000 memory bricks were carefully removed. Haven offers opportunities for families to remember their loved ones by sponsoring a brick on the memorial walkways near the gardens of the care center. These memorial bricks will be reinstalled in a new area on the property once construction of the care center expansion is completed.

“When we took up the memory bricks, we did not let machinery off the path to protect the heritage oak closest to the care center,” said Landscape Architect Buford Davis. Davis is the principal of Buford Davis + Associates, a landscape architectural firm working once again with Haven on the hardscape and landscape of the E.T. York Care Center. “A great deal of energy went into recording where the bricks were and carefully removing them.” Replacing them in the new hardscape will be one of the last things that will be done on the project.

“The design of the expansion has been created around the heritage oak tree closest to the building to minimize impact and protect the root system. Grading soils around the tree is minimized because we don’t want a lot of activity under the canopies,” said Davis.

The new hardscape and landscape will tie back to the original construction and design which was completed by general contractor Parrish McCall, Brame Heck Architects, and Buford Davis + Associates. These three Gainesville companies have teamed up once again on this expansion project for Haven Hospice which employs a majority of local subcontractors. “We have a good team on this project, and everyone has had a long-term relationship, so that is key.”

When the project is completed, the heritage oak near the care center will be lit up at night. “The bigger of the two heritage oaks, the one across the field, is very dramatic, so street scape will curve in and around it,” said Davis. “The objective is to have the expansion look uniform and continuous with the original building, hardscape and landscape.”

Originally built in 1996, the E.T. York Care Center is expanding to meet the growing needs of hospice patients and their families in the Gainesville area. In addition to adding new, private rooms to bring the total to 30, Haven will also be renovating all of the existing rooms, gathering areas and the kitchen.

The current living room and solarium will be replaced by a remodeled family space and a family kitchen which will be divided into four gathering areas by two large saltwater aquariums. The current nurse’s station will be replaced with a family dining area while the existing industrial kitchen will be expanded. Five new, smaller nurse’s stations will be situated throughout the care center ensuring patient rooms can be accessed more quickly and easily. While the chapel will remain with its stained glass windows, a new rose garden will be planted outside of a new meditation room and screened-in deck. The current rose garden will be moved to this new environment.