Littlestown Area School District wanted to bolster their central campus by providing shared resources through a new combined secondary school. They also wanted to expand early childhood education programming. By upgrading facilities to be equitable for all, the District hoped to prepare students for life in the 21st century. A district wide feasibility study was the first step towards realizing their objectives. It also provided a firm plan for moving forward.
District Wide Feasibility Study
The feasibility study assessed the District’s school buildings: one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school. The facilities evaluated a total of 440,000+ SF on over 114 acres of property and serve approximately 2,200 students. The assessment indicated that the middle school required numerous improvements to meet current facility and educational needs. The evaluation also revealed that the high school had additional capacity available for curriculum use but needed renovations typical for a building of its age.
Starting the Process with Community Involvement
From the outset, the Design Team and School District directly engaged the Littlestown community as a part of the feasibility study. A community survey, focus group sessions and staff discussions aided information gathering. Enrollment projection analysis, building capacity evaluation, assessment of the existing facilities, and Steering Committee input in addition to the community feedback were used in compiling the study.
From Feasibility Study to Long-Range Plans
Seven options developed for District review included a mix of architectural scenarios:
- combined middle school / high school
- new middle school built next to high school
- new high school with middle school moving to the existing high school
After reviewing study results and further discussion, the District implemented a long-range plan for updating the facilities. The plan includes additions and renovations to the existing high school building to create a new secondary school. Once the secondary school updates are complete, the middle school building will be used in a different capacity. The feasibility study also presented options for its use. The plan also includes direction for upgrades to athletic facilities, the central maintenance building and the mechanical systems at the District’s elementary school.
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
Bring In Outside Community
Renovation of a former café created Health and Harrow—a restaurant, private dining room, bistro, coffee bar, and outdoor patio—to enhance campus life and help to bring the outside community into Pleasant View. This not only provides an additional dining venue for a town that has limited restaurant options, but the extra income also helps to maintain – and even increase – Pleasant View’s benevolence to its residents.
Large storefront windows replace bay windows and a rarely used vestibule just off the patio has been repurposed as two dining alcoves in the front of the bistro. Outdoor connections are highlighted with expanded windows, many with sills less than a foot above the ground, patio dining with a variety of seating options, and a renovated fountain featuring work by a local sculptor.
Hearth and Harrow highlights its local agrarian setting via hand-cut local tiles, local art, textured glass panels from a local glass supplier, reclaimed barn wood, and Edison bulbs inspired by nearby family farms. The name highlights the signature hearth feature and connects back to Pleasant View’s heritage of the family farm reflecting an operational goal to partner with local, Lancaster County food vendors and bring the Farm-to-Table movement to the community.
Photo Credit: Nathan Cox Photography
Interior updates for this thriving law practice focused primarily on the top two floors of work spaces, including the third floor paralegal and attorney’s offices, as well as a library and lounge area. The project also involved updates to the first floor annex hospitality serving area and conversion of an office to a small conference room. Exposed brick walls and other distinctive historical elements were maintained for the updates.
This unique office setting was the site of additions and renovations previously designed by RLPS, resulting in the current three bay, three-story façade. The building face blends traditional and contemporary elements in its use of materials, scale and context with surrounding buildings. Handmade oversized brick with grapevine mortar joints respects the adjacent historical structures. The bronze mirrored glass on the modern annex addition literally reflects a noteworthy Second Empire structure across the street.
Photo Credit: Nathan Cox Photography
This project included complete interior design services for a pediatric dental office expansion. We assisted the client with selection of interior building finishes including paint, flooring, and lighting options and coordinated the selections with the contractor. We also provided furniture selections with finishes and fabrics appropriate for both children and adults and then supported furniture delivery and installation.
Photo Credit: Patton Photography
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.
This couple sold the spacious 5,000+ square foot Queen Anne style home they had resided in for 30+ years and moved into the carriage house next door. Built in 1925 as a physician’s medical office, the carriage home offered a smaller scale, single-story living option that incorporated the design detailing and historical character the couple desired. Based on the home’s location within a Heritage Conservation District, the expansion and renovations to the Arts & Crafts style, brick carriage home had to be pre-approved by the Lancaster City Historical commission. The end result is a fully accessible residence that enables them to age in comfort and style.
Photo Credit: Larry Lefever Photography
Renovations to an unoccupied office building created a dynamic, multi-functional community hub. The building includes two levels of parking, a community business center on the main floor, and two upper levels of offices and shared spaces for the Chamber and several partner organizations. The commission began with an office-wide design competition. About a dozen teams presented a variety of approaches to reinventing the 30,000 square foot office building as the first step in selecting a preliminary design concept that would be subsequently developed into the final solution.
A New Face for the Chamber
The Chamber was committed to respecting the history of Lancaster while signaling an organizational commitment to looking forward. The updated building maintains a classical hierarchy, but is rendered in contemporary tones and textures. The former façade of 115 East King Street was designed at a time when modern lines and new architectural rhythms rejected the context and cadence of surrounding buildings in favor of new ideas. The new building face recaptures the rich architectural context of King Street by breaking down the former 60 foot façade to create a more graceful 45 foot wide main elevation stepping out toward the street.
Collaborative Work and Meeting Spaces
The building interior focuses on a range of multi-functional event and casual collaboration spaces. Varied furniture solutions include stand-up desks, “touchdown” work stations and comfortable seating with integrated charging stations, all supporting the needed flexibility. Bright pops of color and writable walls within meeting spaces and casual seating areas reinforce the energy and openness of the many spaces designed to foster idea sharing, community partnerships and business development.
Reinforcing Local Connections
Notable local material selections include slate and copper accent walls in meeting rooms, linear wood plank clouds painted in custom platinum and an open structural steel-frame stairway leading visitors to the community business center. Ceiling and lighting solutions throughout the building reflect a contemporary industrial aesthetic while maximizing natural light, integrating LED technology, and managing acoustical stability. A few details were incorporated during construction when unforeseen treasures were discovered during interior demolition. For example, an original beam from a Lancaster steel company was left exposed in the employee bistro.
Photo Credit: Nathan Cox Photography
This 7-day complete kitchen and dining area makeover provided both functional and aesthetic improvements for more efficient operations and a better dining experience for guests. This project provided the mission with working, energy-efficient equipment and layout improvements for food preparation workflow and dining room services. Updated interior finishes and furnishings provide a more appealing environment utilizing lower maintenance, economical materials.
Photo Credit: J. Eldon Zimmerman
From Auto Parts Store to Restored 19th Century Landmark Building
This adaptive reuse project transformed a condemned building into a beautiful multi-use cultural resource. In addition to the main recital hall, the building also houses offices for the Honors Program, Campus Ministry and Community Services, a student lounge and a meditation chapel. Working entirely within the existing envelope, the refurbished building features extensive interior detailing and casework, with environmentally friendly cork flooring.
The 19th century landmark was originally built in 1884 as a meeting house for the growing city of Williamsport and most recently was being used as an auto parts store. Lycoming College originally purchased the property with the intention of making a parking lot. However, a financial gift to the college facilitated a new vision for the solid 19th century brick building.
Multi-Use Resource for the College and Surrounding Community
The dramatic transformation incorporates pieces of the college’s history including terra cotta medallions from a former campus art and music conservatory and a stained glass window rescued from another campus building. Flexible seating was utilized for the recital hall to accommodate a wide range of programming for up to 100 people on the first floor with an additional 20 seats in a balcony viewing area. The recital hall has become a vibrant, acoustically-friendly addition to the campus, well received by the Lycoming College music program and the surrounding community.
Photo Credit: Michael Mutmansky Photography