Lancaster County Children’s Alliance

Lancaster, PA

This children’s advocacy center brings child abuse professionals together in one location to support the needs of victims and non-offending family members. The center’s former location was undersized and was not fully accessible. This retrofit project converted a three-story downtown residence to better support increasing program needs.

The 7,400 square foot renovated building contains five “pods” on the first and second floors.  Each pod is comprised of a consultation room, observation room and forensic room. A private family counseling space is adjacent to the lobby area on the first floor and a conference room is located of the second floor. The third level is used for staff offices and storage needs. Parking is provided behind the building with an accessible ramp leading to the entrance that has been discreetly located along the side of the building.

A Place to Feel Safe

All of the support spaces are designed to be inviting and friendly, but not distracting to the families and children who can range from pre-school to teenagers. Acoustical separation between spaces is a priority, particularly for the pod spaces.  Natural light, bright pops of color and nature references are designed to help support the healing process.  A large mural provides a positive visual distraction in each of the medical exam rooms and donor recognition and room signs feature a colorful leaf motif. A non-operating fireplace in the lobby remains as a simple visual feature for the space.

Support for Multidisciplinary Team Members

The Center’s multidisciplinary team includes child protection workers, law enforcement officers, medical providers, prosecutors, victim advocates, mental health providers, and advocacy center staff. The new center provides larger, more flexible and technology integrated spaces to accommodate this diverse group of professionals.

A staff breakroom was a much needed amenity that became a possibility in the new space.  Although modestly sized, the kitchenette and dining area is flooded with natural light and the breakroom was positioned to provide staff members with access to an existing balcony.

Meeting a Community Need

The new center provides more space to better coordinate the investigation and prosecution of child sex crimes, while also supporting the needs of those served. Children and their families can report allegations and use resources in the same place while having their privacy protected.

We are all still basking in the glow with how the new Lancaster County Children’s Alliance Center turned out when completed. It’s a warm and welcoming space with so many design details that provide an ideal place for children in our community to begin their journey to healing. RLPS was an invested partner that helped bring our vision to life.

Jennifer Groff, Vice President; LG Health Foundation

Photo Credit: Nathan Cox Photography

Oak Tree Development – 48 on the Park

Lititz, Pennsylvania

This project reinvented a decommissioned chocolate factory complex, built over 100 years ago, into a multi-use development.  The multi-use redevelopment project is anchored by the iconic Wilbur Chocolate Factory, which is being repurposed into an upscale hotel, market, restaurant and luxury condominiums. The complex will also be home to The Lofts at Lititz Springs, a new 55+ satellite housing option for Pleasant View Communities, a nearby retirement community, as well as market-rate apartments. The vision for the project encompasses varied uses to ultimately bring more people into this thriving downtown to live, shop, dine and stay.

Redeveloping a Downtown Chocolate Factory Complex

The former Wilbur Chocolate Factory was comprised of a dozen different buildings added to the original structure over the decades.  The adaptive re-use solution preserved the most historically and architecturally significant portions of the buildings and removed the later industrial additions that lacked aesthetic value and were competing for daylight on an already crowed site. The additions and new structures on the site blend with the old by echoing the roof lines and window placement. Additionally, materials such as red brick are featured throughout both the exterior and interior of the buildings and iron railings are repeated on both existing and new construction.

Fitting Diverse Uses on a Tight Site Squeezed Between a Functioning Rail Line and Town Streets

Breathing room was carved out of the chocolate factory by removing parts of the building that had less architectural value to make room for a series of entry experiences. Starting at Broad Street, the public entrances to both the restaurant and marketplace echo the former street-facing retail component of the factory and embraces the fabric of the town. Progressing deeper into the site, a former loading dock and 1970s addition were removed to form the main courtyard entrance for the hotel and public entrance to the condominiums. Around the corner, a former parking lot is being converted to The Lofts 55+ housing, extending the town streetscape and directly connecting those residences to the new amenities.

The 26 unique condo residences take advantage of the exposed brick and heavy timber structure to create unique, luxury living quarters with views of the adjacent park.  Likewise, the 74-room boutique hotel  complements the personality and style of Lititz.  “The Wilbur” pays homage to the historic chocolate brand that is a big part the community heritage and provides upscale guest rooms and amenities within the framework of these historic buildings. Adding to an already thriving retail and food culture in Lititz, the design also includes a new 150-seat restaurant and food marketplace along Broad Street. This new building addition has been carefully designed to be a good architectural neighbor to the well-established fabric of downtown Lititz.

The Townhomes on Hendericks Place at Moravian Manor

Lititz, PA

This neighborhood of 12 upscale townhomes configured around a central green, was designed so residents can live on the first floor, with the second floor functioning as a bonus area. All homes include a den and rear-loaded two-car garage, as well as the option for a residential elevator. Located on a 3.5 acre infill site in downtown Lititz, the townhomes are in close proximity to the Main Street shops and restaurants, nearby recreation facilities, parks and other amenities.

Awards: Citation Award for AIA/LeadingAge Design for Aging Review


Photo Credit: Larry Lefever Photography