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  West Chester United Methodist Church Additions & Renovations, Page 40West Chester United Methodist Church Additions & Renovations
320 Granite Run Drive, Lancaster, PA 17604

West Chester, Pennsylvania
Total Square Feet: 11,935
Construction Period: June 2002 to May 2003 

Construction Team
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Horst Construction - 320 Granite Run Drive, Lancaster, PA 17604
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Greenbaum Structures, PC - 26-28 Market Square, Manheim, PA 17545
ELECTRICAL DESIGN/BUILDER: Keares Electrical - P.O. Box 233, Downington, PA 19335
MECHANICAL DESIGN/BUILDER: Kirchoff, Inc. - 2653 Lititz Pike, Lancaster, PA 17601
COST ESTIMATOR: Horst Construction - 320 Granite Run Drive, Lancaster, PA 17604

In the center of historic downtown West Chester in Chester County, Pennsylvania, a historic, landmark church felt a need to expand it's facilities to accommodate growth and expanding ministries. They decided to interview design/build teams to carry forth schematic plans that were developed with a retired architect during the previous year. Cornerstone Design- Architects and Horst Construction were selected as the firm to design and build the new addition and implement extensive renovations in the existing facility.

The original church is a stone structure, built in the early twentieth century and designed by the Philadelphia architect, Wesley Lesher Blithe. The new portion is a three story, 11,935-square-foot addition attached to the south end of a structure built in 1961, a four story education building, that had been designed to receive a future addition since the southern exterior wall was built with painted concrete block. All the rest of the exterior finish is stone. The proposed addition needed to be presented to and approved by the Historical and Architectural Review Board of West Chester.

The cost of the new addition was $1.7 million dollars, but represents only half of the costs for the total project of $3.5 million dollars. The project also incorporated renovating a significant portion of the existing facility and upgrading the infrastructure systems. Architectural services by Cornerstone Design-Architects, along with the vision and involvement of the church's leadership, resulted in a cost effective and complementary design which was executed in a manner by Horst Construction to keep the church operational during the work.

The new addition provides space for multi-purpose classrooms on the lowest level, utilizing operable partitions walls to provide flexibility. The main level provides a new spacious administration office suite and a chapel/library that utilizes custom casework to provide a finished appearance when used as a chapel. The upper level provides a new 210-seat social hall, also divisible for classrooms, which can be used for volleyball as well.

Handicap accessibility was an important goal for the project and a new elevator connects all four levels of both the new and existing spaces. The elevator was positioned in a centralized location and in a place that could easily be constructed with only minor underpinning to the existing foundation walls. The location also opens up to the renovated narthex gathering space, with atrium skylighting which was reopened and reworked to bring in natural light to the core of the building.

Since a daycare functions in the facility, a play space was part of the programming. The initial schematic provided a new outdoor play area on the upper level of the proposed addition, creating a truncated appearance for the addition from the primary street view. Cornerstone recommended creating the social hall with the vaulted ceiling in that location, enhancing the curb appeal and allowing the addition to be more compatible with the existing building style. To accommodate the play area, the upper level of the 1961 portion was opened to expose the roof structure, operable skylights added and new screened casement windows installed to create an indoor/outdoor type of play space.

The exterior had the most critical design considerations for the historical compatibility requirements. Initially, as a cost savings, manufactured stone was only used for two stories and the third floor and gable end was going to be stucco. However, Quality Stone of Refton, Penn. did a tremendous job in matching the look and coloration of the existing stone that the church decided to spend the extra money to clad the entire addition exterior in stone. An architectural precast water table and lintels were used integrate the look with existing detailing and openings. Vinyl clad casement windows/transoms were used in similar sizes, proportions and multiples, except not leaded glass as in the existing windows.

This project was a balance in finding cost effective ways of constructing, yet was done in a manner that respected the historic nature. The project was completed successfully with a team of design/ builders committed to bringing good value and appearance, yet working within a budget affordable for the church. The finished project "has delighted everyone beyond their expectations," according to Pastor John Schol.

DIV 04:
Manufactured Stone: Quality Stone.
DIV 07: Shingles: Cer tainteed Grand Manor®.
DIV 09: Vinyl Flooring: Armstrong.

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