Hollister Construction Services to Build LifeTown in Livingston

Parsippany-based Hollister Construction Services, a full-service construction manager specializing in corporate, educational, healthcare, industrial, retail and residential construction, announces that it will serve as construction manager for LifeTown, a dynamic new facility in Livingston, that will provide social, therapeutic, recreational and educational programs to youths with special needs.

The 47,000-square-foot, $14-million project, slated for completion in winter 2015, will transform a former warehouse into an inclusive center. LifeTown will offer a variety of educational and therapeutic experiences, from a sand room for tactile therapy to mock retail stores for instruction on self-reliance within society. The center will also enable all children and teens to learn social and life skills in a safe and controlled environment.

One of just a few such facilities in the nation, LifeTown can be compared to a backlot movie studio, specially designed for first-hand, educational experiences. At the center of the building is Life Village, an extremely detailed mockup of a town square where individuals with special needs can practice vital life skills. Life Village will house functioning storefronts including a bank, florist, food and book stores, a salon, pet shop, health-care facility, café and movie theater. It will even include street crossings, a traffic light and sidewalks.

All elements of LifeTown have been designed to accommodate individuals with special needs. The gym, for instance, will be constructed to reduce noise, which can cause confusion and agitation for those with autism. The pool has a beach entry to provide easy access, and will help to promote coordination, motor development and fitness. A water room will offer fun and therapeutic-sensory interaction with water, and the “Snoezelen Room” will offer a soothing and calming space.

“Hollister is honored to help create such a unique facility, especially one that will benefit so many children in our region,” said Jon Schoenleber, project manager of Hollister Construction Services. “This is an extremely rewarding project that advances our ongoing commitment to support the community through our work.”

“The existing facility will undergo a complete gut rehab so that we can create the individual components of LifeTown in a dynamic and completely realistic setting,” said Lance Blake, designing architect with Rotwein & Blake Associates.

“LifeTown will provide inclusive socialization opportunities for all, and will allow individuals with special needs to live up to their potential by offering hands-on, life-skills training in a controlled and manageable environment,” said Zalman Grossbaum, executive director of Friendship Circle. “This dream is becoming a reality because of great partners like Hollister.”

From: New Jersey Business Magazine