February 13, 2015
Double-takes and admiring smiles from neighboring drivers greeted the residents onboard Lenbrook's new community bus as it made its maiden voyage around town Feb. 9. Despite the chilly, rainy weather, there wasn't anything glum about this outing. Instead, the Lenbrook riders enjoyed a smooth ride and virtually panoramic views as the bus traveled the streets of Buckhead.
"We wanted our new bus to be a visible extension of Lenbrook," said Lisa Kiely, Director of Enrichment for Lenbrook. "It's a reflection of our residents' adventurous spirit and involvement in the community as we travel to museums, the symphony, dining venues and shopping destinations," she explained. "Gold is a prevalent color throughout our Lenbrook campus -- in our wood flooring, fabrics, signage and decor -- we wanted to carry this branded look over to the bus."
Carleton Guptil, Ph.D., steps off from the maiden bus voyage Feb. 9, 2015.
The bustling senior living community in Buckhead determined it was time for a new bus. After all, the old one had been around since the Olympics came to town in 1996. A committee was soon organized to include residents, Lenbrook associates and outside subject matter experts. Together, this group conducted three months of research into bus types, features and color schemes. They selected National Bus Sales to create a customized bus with the champagne gold color and Prestige Transportation to provide professional drivers.
"Every feature was carefully vetted and screened as to the value and purpose it would bring to the residents," Kiely said. The final selection of features and amenities included a hard wood floor center aisle; camel-colored, leather-like seats; individual air adjustment controls and storage pockets for each seat; retractable seat belts; ample overhead storage and three underbelly storage areas for groceries, luggage and assistive devices; a wheelchair lift and dark-tinted glass for a more comfortable view and indoor temperature year round.
Franca Oreffice was named the Inaugural Champion of the New Bus at the ribbon cutting ceremony for her leadership on the committee. "We used to feel every bump in the road," Oreffice said. "This bus definitely has a better quality of ride. The air conditioning and heating are more comfortable, and it's tastefully decorated," she added with a chuckle."The interior of the old bus was purple and turquoise," she explained.
Lisa Kiely, Director of Enrichment for Lenbrook, presents the Inaugural Champion of the New Bus award to bus committee member Franca Oreffice.
Lenbrook resident Carleton Guptil, Ph.D., agreed the bus is nice step up. "It's got the new technology features like back-up and side cameras," he noted. "The seats are easier to get in and out of, and there's extra knee-room on the right side. So if you're tall, you can ride on that side."
The consensus of the Lenbrook riders at the end of the maiden voyage was clear: The new Lenbrook bus is not your grandmother's bus. And for its next scheduled trip? Nikolai's Roof to celebrate Valentine's Day.
Lenbrook's new 34-foot bus arrives at the senior living community on Peachtree Road Northeast.