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York College’s Center for Community Engagement to receive PA Historic Preservation Award

September 13, 2017
Renovated Center for Community Engagement
Photo Credit: Michael L. Mihalo. Copyright 2017

York College’s Center for Community Engagement (CCE), located at 59 East Market Street in Downtown York in the former Lafayette Club, has been transformed to a hub for engagement both for students and residents. The project, led by Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects, has been selected to receive a Construction Award at the 2017 Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Awards. The award ceremony is set for Oct. 12 at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg.

Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects’ collaboration over several years with York College to re-program this prominent building, repair and restore its historic components and carefully insert new accessibility improvements and environmental systems was a complex “labor of love.”

"This award demonstrates how committed the College is to finding a bridge between the past, present, and future,” said Dominic Dellicarpini, dean of the CCE. “Like the preservation of the building, we treat preserving the long and rich history of York College and its forbear institutions as crucial. But in making the building a hub of new activity, we hope to expand the College's role in the vibrancy of York, for all its diverse citizens." 

“It was a privilege for Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects to be a part of this successful collaboration – and the award is very gratifying confirmation of the entire team’s efforts,” said Murphy & Dittenhafer Principal, Frank Dittenhafer II FAIA, LEED AP.

Dittenhafer fostered a creative vision for the adaptive reuse of the “quirky” 4 ½ story building that had been added onto several times during the past 177 years. He created a “master plan” type vision that maintained the historic character of the Classic Revival Market Street entrance, magnificent stair hall and formal “parlor type” front rooms, in conjunction with select modernizations to other areas of the building such as the Lower (Basement) Level and First Floor northern most rooms, blending the old and the new to meet a variety of program needs for York College. 

The wood and leaded-glass entrance on Duke Street was retained and refurbished, lowered to sidewalk level to provide accessibility, and features a new interior stairway with Pennsylvania bluestone risers, porcelain stone-like tile, wood wall paneling and zinc-cladding at the new five stop elevator doors.

Old wood coat rack standards that lined the main first-floor hallway were salvaged and repurposed into a display case that will show artifacts from the college, city and the former social club. The Lafayette Club seal, cut from original carpeting, has been hung on the stair landing wall as a tapestry.

York College Hospitality Management students have already seen the opportunities that can come from a fully renovated commercial kitchen in the building’s Lower Level, which is used as a teaching lab to learn the “ins and outs” of managing a professional food service operation.

The first floor is a community hub – a place where York College students and York residents can take classes, sit in on guest lectures by York College professors and hold public meetings and events.

The second floor has been renovated to become the home to the College’s Office of Community Engagement and will eventually house a co-working space. The third floor will be remodeled into residential space that can be used by visiting professors, fellows, executives or artists in residence in a later phase of renovation.

So far, reception to the new residents on East Market Street has been positive.

“The community has welcomed us with open arms,” DelliCarpini said. “They’ve been ready for us to be here.”

Produced by Our York Media for Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects.

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