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Construction work has been ongoing at Messiah Lifeways at Messiah Village in Upper Allen Township for the past two years.

And while the dirt is still being turned at the nonprofit senior community, some aspects of the project are ready for public display. Doors open for a public tour of two new skilled nursing neighborhoods at the facility, located 100 Mount Allen Drive in Upper Allen Township, from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The new Engle and Greenwood skilled nursing neighborhoods each feature 16 private rooms and a layout made to make residents feel at home.

“This is the new model,” said Kristen Heisey, Messiah Lifeways vice president of strategic development and marketing. “It’s really being person centered, making people feel like they are in a home and not an institution.”

To achieve that, each neighborhood is entered through a front door positioned in a lobby that gives the feel of entering a home from a front porch.

The traditional care base, which in many nursing facilities is open and feels similar to a hospital, has been closed off and incorporated in a less conspicuous way at the new facility.

“The nurses can still see what’s happening, but you’re not hearing all the action happening behind the scenes,” Heisey said.

Separate elevator entrances are available to staff to work behind the scenes, and each room is equipped with a television and bathroom with a shower. Each floor also includes its own sauna. From the communal sitting areas to the open dining hall, the new facilities give more of a feel of home rather than a hospital.

The Engle and Greenwood neighborhoods are part of a $77.5 million project Messiah Lifeways is undertaking that includes the creation of a Village Square with shopping, dining and new apartment homes and the creation of an enhanced living apartment complex known as Hopewell Neighborhood.

“We are really thinking about the next generation, the baby boomers,” Heisy said. “There’s a huge number of them. So, in general there is going to be more need for housing options. … We also see the trends changing. People desire private accommodations. (This project) is really based on market demands and making sure what we have to offer at Messiah Lifeways is what customers want.”

A new Center for Wellness and Vitality on the Village Square, for example, will feature a Cerise Day Spa that offers massage therapy, salon services, manicure and pedicures, plus a relaxation room with a salt wall. A salt water pool and fitness and aerobic studies also are planned for the center. The facility will be available to anyone in the general public over age 55.

Village Square also will feature two restaurants, Café 100 and Katherine’s on The Square, as well as a new welcome center.

The Hostetter Enrichment Center with a seating capacity of 300 will offer an expansion of the Pathways Institute lifelong learning program at Messiah Lifeways, Heisey said. The Pathways Institute offers history, literature, science and nature, and more courses in spring and fall semesters and is available to members of the general public over age 55 in addition to residents. The spring 2017 course catalog is available at

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