Sheltering Arms Institute Expands Outdoor Space with Bridge Garden

birds eye view of bridge gardenAt Sheltering Arms Institute, we are very fortunate for the support of generous donors through Sheltering Arms Foundation who have made it possible for us to have a beautiful and high-tech indoor space to care for our patients. Now, we are turning our attention to begin developing more of the outdoor space on our 47-acre campus to expand the rehabilitation environment.

When her husband, Bill, suffered a stroke in 2017, Beth Flippo Hutchins recognized the need for a green space for patients like him to reconnect with themselves, family, and coworkers. She remembers rolling him in a wheelchair through the parking lots and thinking that there had to be a better way for patients to enjoy the fresh air.

Thanks to a significant gift from the Flippo Foundation, Sheltering Arms Institute will soon have the Bridge Garden, a special natural setting for everyone to enjoy.

“I cried when I heard that the new outdoor space at Sheltering Arms Institute was named the Bridge Garden,” says Beth Flippo Hutchins, whose family has been a part of or connected to Sheltering Arms for many years.

bridge garden at sheltering arms instituteFunded with the support of the Flippo Foundation, a collaborative design team began imagining an outdoor space inspired by the idea of patients connecting with themselves, their families and the world at large.

“Ideas came from our patients and their diverse experiences, as well as from clinicians and community partner groups,” explained Cindee Rolston, Director of Rehabilitation Psychology.

The final design of the garden features secluded spaces for quiet conversations, gathering spaces for families and a green space for lawn games and activities. There will be a trail with a variety of ground coverings so that patients can practice navigating a variety of terrains.

The Bridge theme will be visually represented by arches linking one area of the garden to the next.

Beth is ever grateful to Sheltering Arms and the genesis of the garden. She says, “I love the smaller conversation spaces, which was something that meant so much to Bill. I remember watching how his visitors would spark a memory in him. The garden also helps patients in relating to normal situations.”

Beth concludes, “We’ve been so blessed by the care we received at Sheltering Arms. So many people gave Bill the opportunity to be Bill again. That was a gift we can never repay.” She adds, “The power of others who gave their time and talent gave Bill the Power to Overcome.”

The Bridge Garden is expected to be completed in late fall 2021.

A version of this article was originally written by Kathleen Reid for Sheltering Arms Foundation. Renderings courtesy of HG Design Studio.